Push to deregister Nitschke
Under fire: Euthanasia advocate Dr Philip Nitschke. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

WA's peak doctors' group will lobby medical authorities to deregister euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke, saying he is a disgrace to their profession and could undo years of work by suicide prevention groups.

The Australian Medical Association WA wants the Medical Board and the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Agency to investigate Dr Nitschke's fitness to work as a doctor.

The call comes after fresh concerns were raised about his role in helping a depressed Perth man take his own life.

It was revealed this week that the 66-year-old Exit International founder was in contact with 45-year-old Nigel Brayley, who died in May this year.

Mr Brayley's wife Lina had been found dead at the bottom of a quarry in Gooseberry Hill in 2011.

Police had treated the death as suspected murder since October.

The man had written to Dr Nitschke saying he wanted to end his life, not because he had a terminal illness but because he was "suffering".

Speaking on ABC TV, Dr Nitschke defended his failure to advise Mr Brayley to seek psychiatric help, saying it was "a clear case of rational suicide".

On Twitter yesterday, he boasted that sales of his euthanasia e-book Peaceful Pill had hit an eight-year high after "great promo by ABC!"

AMA WA president Michael Gannon said the "poster boy for assisted suicide" had gone too far.

"Doctors have varied views on euthanasia but this is a significant deviation from the usual debate, and a horrible message to send about how doctors think," he said. "I think we have worked out what this guy stands for, and it's a perverse existentialist view that everyone should be able to take their life if they hit a dark time."

Former ABC sports broadcaster Glenn Mitchell, who considered taking his own life in 2011 while suffering depression, said he was appalled by Dr Nitschke's behaviour.

"I find it staggering he did not recognise that the vast majority of mental illnesses, with correct help, can have incredibly good outcomes," Mr Mitchell said.

"For a doctor to find ending your life as the best option is beyond belief.

"From my own experience, you need help from properly trained people and you need to know it's not something you have to bear alone."

Beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett labelled Dr Nitschke's actions reprehensible.

He said Dr Nitschke had done his cause for euthanasia a great deal of harm.

If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.

The West Australian

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