Arthur lost his wife Margaret after a prolonged battle with cancer and a series of strokes. YAHOO 7.
Arthur lost his wife Margaret after a prolonged battle with cancer and a series of strokes. YAHOO 7. Courtesy Channel 7

Widower slams euthanasia guard

ARTHUR Smith has reignited the euthanasia debate after going public with his story of how he was forced to visit his dying wife Margaret in Coffs Harbour Hospital under guard.

The 87-year-old widower aired his grievances on national television revealing how New South Wales hospitals use security guards to stop family members helping to euthanise terminally ill patients.

Telling his story to 7 News, Mr Smith said he made a comment to Coffs Harbour Hospital staff that he thought Margaret, his wife of 57 years, should be given help to die to end her suffering after a prolonged battle with cancer and a series of strokes.

"If I had my way, I'd end it as soon as I could so that Marg wouldn't suffer any more pain," Mr Smith said.

However, because euthanasia is illegal hospital staff followed protocol and contacted police.

As a result Mr Smith's final visits were made in the presence of hospital staff and security guards.

Coffs Harbour Health Campus' acting general manager Dr Theresa Beswick said health staff had a duty of care to palliative care patients.

"I acknowledge that this is a distressing time for Mr Smith and extend my sincere condolences to him and his family," Dr Beswick said.

"The best possible care was provided to make Mrs Smith comfortable before she passed away.

"In this unfortunate instance Mr Smith made certain allegations which were concerning to staff and by law were required to be reported to authorities."

She said a staff member had to be in the room at every visit.

"Mr Smith was aware of the care and treatment plan to manage Mrs Smith's complex medical needs," she said.


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