International

Scientist ‘disappointed’ that euthanizing three people makes him ‘unemployable’ in New Zealand

Netherlands, assisted suicide, euthanasia

A scientist involved in killing four patients through assisted suicide has had his ability to practice in New Zealand revoked. Dr. Sean Davison, who resides in South Africa and holds dual citizenship in New Zealand, received notice that his registration as a medical professional in that country would be canceled after a video-chat hearing with the country’s Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal on Tuesday.

Davison is a forensic scientist holding a provisional registration with the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand. He was first convicted of procuring an assisted suicide for his terminally ill 85-year-old mother in 2011. Then, between 2013 and 2015, he was responsible for the assisted suicide deaths of three South African men. Davison admitted to killing two of the men with a legal concoction of drugs, while the third died after Davison placed a bag over his head and suffocated him. In 2019, he pleaded guilty to those charges and was sentenced to three years of house arrest.

A longtime euthanasia advocate and one-time International President of the Right to Die Societies, Davison expressed his dismay at not being able to return to New Zealand to continue his work in a professional capacity. “I am very disappointed by this decision and fail to understand why helping three men to end their unbearable suffering makes me unfit to practice as a medical scientist,” he said. “Our family was thinking about moving back, but the professional misconduct charge makes me unemployable in New Zealand.”

READ: Terminally ill woman fights against New Zealand assisted suicide referendum

New Zealand news outlet Stuff reports that Jo Hughson, a lawyer for the Professional Conduct Committee, said that Davison’s role in the deaths was a “deliberate breach of the obligation of all medical practitioners to protect the ‘sanctity’ of life, and would be seen by the public as ‘unacceptable’ of a person registered in New Zealand.”

Right to Life New Zealand also praised the ruling. “This is a very important decision as it reaffirms the stance of the medical profession in New Zealand that it is not only unlawful but contrary to the ethics of the medical profession for a doctor to kill a patient by administering a lethal injection to a patient or assisting in their suicide. Euthanasia is not medical care. Doctors are carers not killers,” the organization said in a statement.

The Tribunal’s ruling is an especially timely pro-life statement for the country, as New Zealanders are preparing to vote in a referendum on the End of Life Act, which would legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide for eligible terminally-ill adults.

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