She Got the Death She Wanted, With David Bowie and Pizza

Cancer patient Kerry Robertson, 61, is first Aussie to die under new assisted-suicide law
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2019 8:07 AM CDT
First Aussie to Die Under New Law: an 'Empowered Death'
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Images_by_Lisa)

It took nearly a month to go through the approval process, but an Australian woman finally got her wish and ended her own life last month. The BBC reports that 61-year-old Kerry Robertson became the first Aussie to take advantage of a new law currently available only in the state of Victoria after she could no longer take the "intolerable" pain and side effects of treating her nearly decade-old cancer. The Guardian notes Robertson died at a nursing home in Bendigo. Victoria's Voluntary Assisted Dying Act, which was just put into effect in June, is meant only for the most severe cases and has more than five dozen hurdles a patient must overcome before getting the OK, including having to make the request to die three times to at least two specially approved doctors.

Patients must also be at least 18 and not have more than six months to live (or a year, if they have a degenerative neurological disorder). In the case of Robertson, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, her illness had spread to her bones, liver, lungs, and brain; she stopped chemo and radiation in March after finding the process unbearable. Her daughters say her final moments were a "beautiful, positive experience," with David Bowie playing in the background and loved ones gathered around her. Per ABC Australia, her final requested meal was a capricciosa pizza with olives. "It was the empowered death that she wanted," they say. Victoria's health minister calls it a "historic moment." Other states mulling the assisted-dying law include Queensland and Western Australia. (More assisted suicide stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.