Assisted Dying: Real-world data from the NZ Assisted Dying Registrar’s Report (March 2022)

I was asked by a friend in the UK for some assisted dying facts from our first year with assisted dying in New Zealand. I’ve taken a few screenshots of interest and posted them below, but the whole report is worth reading.

101 medical and nurse practitioners had chosen to be providers of the assisted dying service as of March 2021. 66 assisted deaths had occurred, and 40 applicants had been found ineligible.

Numbers were small in part because it was the law’s first year. The process has become more well-known as more terminally ill patients became aware of it, and discussed it with their families and friends.

And of course, those who have seen an actual assisted death became very strong advocates when they realise the death was peaceful, gentle, often surrounded by friends and family, and filled with love.

The needless suffering of a disease like terminal breast cancer widely metastatic to the bones, or bowel cancer spreading throughout the abdomen and causing bowel obstructions, could finally end. Gently.

Cancer deaths sometimes do not end nicely — some symptoms and complications can be dreadful. And sometimes even the best palliative care cannot make the suffering bearable.

In my experience, the families and friends present on the last day become the biggest advocates. Often they’ve seen what a bad dying process looks like, and what a good death can look like. And they know which one they would choose.