A cancer patient from Victoria, Australia is the first person to die under the country’s new assisted dying laws. The woman named Kerry Robertson was 61 when she was euthanized in a Victoria nursing home last month.
She was granted permission to use the controversial legislation after going through the 26-day approval process. The assisted dying legislation currently only exists in Victoria but is being considered in other Australian states.
Robertson’s family says she was able to attain “the empowered death that she wanted,” BBC reports. She was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2010 and later on cancer spread to her lungs, bones, liver, and brain. Robertson opted out of chemotherapy and radiation treatment in March after the pain became “intolerable”, according to her family.
Victoria’s assisted dying legislation came into effect in June. It allows terminally ill patients to apply for access to lethal drugs. The application process determines if they meet certain requirements to earn the right.
In a statement to Go Gentle Australia, Robertson’s daughter Nicole said, “We were beside her, David Bowie playing in the background, surrounded by love, with final words spoken, simple and dignified.”
Nicole adds, “To me that is the greatest part: the knowledge that we did everything we could to make her happy in life and comfort in death.”
The highly debated bill was passed in 2017. It took more than 100 hours of parliamentary debate between deeply divided state lawmakers before it was passed into legislation.
According to Robertson’s family, she had applied for euthanasia on the day the legislation came into effect in June.