Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Was That Rider really necessary Mr Coroner, Sir.

For some time the Media led by Tim Pankhurst of the Dom Post, Politicians, the Judiciary, Justice Department people, Families of Suicide deaths and many others with a view have agitated or agonised, depending on a pov, over the very restrictive rules on reporting and publishing details of the tragic, often avoidable loss of life by suicide.

Today it was reported, a call by Wellington Coroner Smith for restrictions on the availability of Helium, a gas that has been employed successfully in two recent deaths.

I am always in favor of reporting as full a coverage of anything relating to justice as official suppression of the process often has an opposite and serious negative unintended outcome.

On this occasion Mr Coroner you only needed to say poisoning by gas and nearly everyone who read that would assume propane, carbon monoxide or some other common gas in everyday use.
How many New Zealanders who may have used bottled Helium for party or display balloons would have considered it as a method for someone bent on suicide. It is most likely the person will collapse, resume breathing air and recover.
Seriously how many have not inhaled the gas from a balloon for the quite humorous effect on the voice or at least watched someone else do just that, the danger comes with saturation inhalation where the Helium effectively replaces any Oxygen in the body effectively starving the body of oxygenated blood causing death but very unlikely with one breath from a balloon.
The US poisons Center recorded only two helium related deaths between 2000 and 2004
Until your published rider about restricting supply to prevent its use for suicide, very very few would have even considered it but now it is a published option and you Sir have promulgated it.

There is precious little real chance to prevent a determined person taking that fatal step using one of many methods available and in my opinion your rider has only added one more option that I and I would suggest 99% of us would not have considered.

Ill-considered is my kind reaction, stupid is probably more accurate.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

For years Smith was a low-rent shop front lawyer in Nelson until one day Zeus on Olympus dropped a peeled grape and beamed him into his present cushy number.

James Stephenson said...

Alternatively GD, it seems that people who wish to commit suicide are well able to research various methods, as the recent cases demonstrate. Those around them are now alerted to something they may have previously regarded as innocuous.