Medical Board bid to ban Nitschke over suicide

Harriet Alexander

The Medical Board of Australia has moved to suspend the registration of euthanasia advocate Dr Philip Nitschke over his role in the suicide of a man who did not have a terminal illness.

The board has asked Dr Nitschke to show cause why he should not be suspended for public safety.

“The board takes ‘immediate action’ as an interim step when it believes there is a serious risk to public health and safety that needs to be managed,” it said in a statement.

But Dr Nitschke said the decision was based on a media report that had been “selectively edited” and he would fight the action.

The ABC reported last week that the doctor supported Nigel Brayley in taking his own life even though he knew that the Perth man did not have a mental illness.

His actions angered the Australian Medical Association and mental health group beyondblue, which said he had an obligation to help the man seek psychiatric help.

But Dr Nitschke said on Thursday [17 July] that Mr Brayley did not have a mental illness and was of rational mind when he chose to take his life, and the ABC was aware of this.

Mr Brayley approached him after a workshop and said he wanted to die because his life was falling apart, Dr Nitschke said.

“I said, ‘Why don’t you go and talk to someone?’ and he said, ‘Mind your own business’.” He learnt after Mr Brayley died that he was being investigated for the murder of his wife.

“My relationship with him was certainly not a doctor-patient relationship. He was a person I had scant dealings with. He had obtained lethal drugs before he even talked to me,” Dr Nitschke said.

With AAP

Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.