First 3 months of VAD in SA

In the first three months since commencement, 12 South Australians have chosen Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) to end their suffering.

The first VAD quarterly report released by SA Health, covering January 31 to April 30, provides overall data and observations on the use of VAD in South Australia.

Launching the report, the Minister of Health, Hon Chris Picton (pictured behind Andres Fuller), and Presiding Officer of the VAD Review Board, Ass Prof Mel Turner, were joined by Andrea Fuller (pictured), whose father had used the VAD substance in March.

Ms Fuller described her father’s determination to use VAD and the peaceful, thoughtful and loving process with her large family. Her father had prostate cancer, and as a former Port Lincoln GP, Dion Manthorpe knew how “cruel nature can be” from supporting patients with the same illness. Dr Manthorpe was clear that he would “much rather be in control of my own death”. The full story is available in the ABC online report.

In the first three months

12 people received the VAD substance

7 people had cancer and 5 had a neurodegenerative disease

7 people were in their 70s

7 people were male, 5 were female

9 people died at home and 3 in a hospital

9 people were in a palliative care program

10 people lived in metropolitan Adelaide and 2 people in the regions

The report emphasises that VAD is not an emergency procedure. The average time from first request to receiving a VAD Permit was 25 days.

Of the total of 28 VAD Permits issued between February and March, 20 were for self administration and 8 for practitioner administration.

The report includes quotes from six users and family members showing their appreciation of people who advocated for VAD and those who now provide VAD services.

“… (VAD) has offered me considerable peace of mind.”

“The VAD Liaison (in a public hospital) listened twice as much as she spoke, and always made time for XX to articulate his concerns, desires and hopes in his own words.”

“When I looked at the VAD application process online it was a bit overwhelming. But XX just guided us through and made it seem simple and straightforward.”

The report kindly acknowledges the work of VADSA in raising community awareness and looks forward to continued cooperation between VADSA and SA Health in this role.

The eight page SA Health VAD report is available here.