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Cope campaigns for bill aimed at protecting terminal patients' rights

Cope MP Deidre Carter says the draft legislation does not deal with the question of active euthanasia or assisted dying.

Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - Congress of the People (Cope) chief whip Deidre Carter plans to introduce a draft bill aimed at ensuring that a terminal patient's wishes to have medical treatment withheld are recognised in law.

She says the National Health Amendment Bill has been drafted with the assistance of Dignity SA, a group that lobbies for the right of South Africans to have a dignified death, if they so choose.

Carter says the draft legislation does not deal with the question of active euthanasia or assisted dying.

She says while the National Health Act refers to living wills and the appointment of proxy health care decision-makers where patients can no longer speak for themselves, it does not go far enough.

“A living will is not expressively recognised, the purpose, scoop, and format these advanced healthcare directives are not explicitly set out. And it’s not clear whether they may in certain circumstances be overridden by family or medical practitioners.”

Carter says the draft bill will be ready for public comment by the end of this week.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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