Stories shared with WA euthanasia inquiry

Tracy Skippings can still recall the discomfort and embarrassment her grandmother endured in the final two weeks of her life after suffering a stroke and paralysis.

"Unable to see or understand what was going on, she dribbled and breathed but did little else," Ms Skippings said.

"The hospital and staff at the time did their best, but oh what a sadness for Gran and relatives knowing what she wanted."

Ms Skippings was among the people who shared a personal experience in submissions to a parliamentary committee examining the need for voluntary euthanasia laws in Western Australia.

"We need to know that the end of life can be easy, painless and dignified," she said.

"At present, end-of-life choices are severely restricted by an ideological minority who are unable or unwilling to face up to the fact that modern science and healthcare does not always help those at the end of their lives."

Elaine Buchan, whose father died 10 years ago, said his suffering was painful to watch as he withered away in palliative care.

"The pain of seeing him slowly deteriorate to a birdlike form crushed us all. It was a totally undignified ending for him and a lasting picture of our father, which was seared into each of our memories."

But some people have made submissions expressing concern about euthanasia, saying it is unnecessary and unsafe.

"Many elderly, disabled and chronically ill people already feel they are a burden on their family and marginalised by society," Ann Harling said.

"Rather than affirming the value of every person to our society, even presenting the legal option of physician-assisted death for frail and dependent people further embeds the idea that they are 'better off dead' and their lives not worth living.

"We need greater awareness of and resources for palliative care services so that all people can access the medical, pastoral and spiritual care they need at the end of their life."

Perth Catholic Archbishop Timothy Costelloe has made a submission calling on parliament to reject any form of assisted dying and instead guarantee better access to palliative care.

Committee chair Amber-Jade Sanderson said on Friday more than 680 submissions had been made, including from advocacy organisations, government agencies, religious institutions and academics.

Two public hearings will be held next week and more next year.

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