Watch: ‘Am against euthanasia, but in favour of a dignified death’ – Fearne

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Prime Minister hopeful Chris Fearne said that he is against the introduction of euthanasia but is in favour of a dignified death, during an interview on Newsbook.com.mt.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister qualified his answer saying that while he was against someone deciding to end their life and make use of euthanasia, he was in favour of patients being offered a dignified death.

Fearne and MP Robert Abela are contesting the unexpected leadership race, after Joseph Muscat announced he will be resigning in January following the arraignment of Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech.

Having spent his life working as a surgeon, Fearne came across various cases of both young and older patients. He explained that many a time a lot of effort goes into extending a patient’s life by a few hours perhaps days. This practice however, is detrimental both to the patient and their families, he remarked.

“While it may sound unpopular, we’re all going to die,” Fearne said. He added that we have a culture where the medical staff is afraid if it does not do its utmost to prolong a patient’s life even in cases when death is imminent. He explained that studies exist on how a patient can be given a more “dignified” death.

The Health Minister said that the government has already started looking into such alternatives where a person can spend the last hours or days – away from hospital and with their families if they prefer to do so. A person might wish to spend their last few hours in a hospice or at hospital without undergoing unnecessary major surgeries which will not cure the disease, Fearne said.

Fearne explained that such a holistic approach would require a wide discussion with all stakeholders including the ethics board.

During the same interview, Fearne also said that abortion will not be introduced if he is elected Partit Laburista leader and subsequently appointed Prime Minister.