Better Off Dead
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#6 The Locked Box
Imagine turning up to work one day to discover flyers outside your office accusing you of being a ‘death peddler’ and an ‘Uber service for poison’.
Professor Michael Dooley runs Victoria’s Statewide Pharmacy Service. When voluntary assisted dying became legal it was his job, and that of his team, to come up with medication that would effectively and painlessly end a terminally ill person’s life - and also a way to safely get it to them.
Michael and his team are the last step – and the final safeguard – in the long legal process a dying person has to go through to access the medication.
What is it like to walk into someone’s home to give them a draught designed to end their life? Who do they meet and what do they hear? And what happens if, at this very last step, they have to tell someone, ‘I’m sorry, but no.’?
Professor Michael Dooley
“We find leaving very, very difficult. Because you have to say goodbye... and we've all talked about how we do it… And there's no easy way and we all have our own little way. You know, it's not a normal goodbye.”
- Visit Go Gentle Australia gogentleaustralia.org.au
- Article: ‘Lethal medication sourced for Victoria’s voluntary euthanasia scheme’ – The Age, 4 January 2019
- Article: ‘Bendigo woman becomes first to use Victoria's Voluntary Assisted Dying law’ -- Go Gentle Australia, 4 August 2019
- Audio: ‘Daughters' emotional tribute to Kerry Robertson, Victoria's first person to use voluntary euthanasia laws’ – ABC Melbourne Mornings with Jon Faine, 5 August 2019
- Article: ‘Voluntary euthanasia to begin in Victoria as assisted dying laws take effect this week’ – ABC News, 16 June 2019
In this episode (in order of appearance):
Kristin Cornell, Michael Dooley, Nicole Robertson, Debra M, Kristin Cornell, Jacqui Hicks, Jon Faine, Jean Caliste, Katie Harley, Liz Le Noble, Jason McKey
Better Off Dead is produced by the Wheeler Centre and Go Gentle Australia.
Writer, Co-Producer and Host: Andrew Denton (Go Gentle Australia)
Series Co-Producer and Script Editor: Bethany Atkinson-Quinton (The Wheeler Centre)
Associate Producers: Kiki Paul and Steve Offner (Go Gentle Australia)
Audio Editor and Engineer: Martin Peralta, with assistance from Adam Rothwell
Production Assistant: Alex Gow (The Wheeler Centre)
Marketing: Emily Harms (The Wheeler Centre), Steve Offner and Frankie Bennett (Go Gentle Australia)
Publicity: Debbie McInnes (DMCPR Media)
Episode Pages: Mia McAuslan (The Wheeler Centre)
Episode Artwork: Megan Herbert
Commissioning Editors: Kiki Paul (Go Gentle Australia) and Caro Llewellyn (The Wheeler Centre)
Music: ‘Loydie’s Angel’, written and performed by Jordan Laser
Music: Jon Murphy, Aaron Gleeson, Brendon John Warner, Simon Kindt
Special thanks to our interviewee Michael Dooley for his time for this episode.
Footage supplied courtesy of Seven Network. All rights reserved. ©
If you're suffering, or someone you love has died badly – in a hospital, in palliative care, in a nursing home, or at home – or if you’ve had an experience with Voluntary Assisted Dying, we would love to hear from you. Tell your story here.
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Andrew Denton is widely recognised as one of Australian media's genuinely creative forces.