SAD DECLINE: Sidney Keith and Kath Provest and (inset) with a young Tweed MP Geoff Provest.
SAD DECLINE: Sidney Keith and Kath Provest and (inset) with a young Tweed MP Geoff Provest. contributed

MP's personal story behind euthanasia support

GEOFF Provest tries to remember only the good parts but there's a small piece of him that can't forget the way it ended.

The Tweed MP, like many in favour of voluntary euthanasia, has been forced to sit by and watch someone he loved - in his case his father, Sidney Keith Provest - very slowly and very painfully leave this world.

It's a story the Bowraville-born man finds difficult to tell and because of this is one not many have heard.

But with a draft Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill in planning and debate due in the NSW Parliament's spring session, the MP has opened up - not to sway people one way or the other but to share with his electorate why he supports the controversial option.

The MP's father was a teacher and a principal.

An ordered man, he wore a suit and tie and was part of what is now considered the 'old brigade'.

He was a man who valued his intellect and, somewhat ironically, in the end a mental illness led to his death.

The Provest family watched as across several years their leading man was robbed of everything important to him: his mind, the order that underpinned his life, and even himself, before he was eventually moved and spent his final 10months in hospital.

"His quality of life wasn't there," the Tweed MP said.

"It affected my mother and had an impact on her. He just suffered a great deal. It really was heartbreaking.

"In the end the doctors came to us and said, 'We're just going to keep upping the morphine here, but you've got to bear in mind eventually the organs shut down.'"

It took three months but they eventually did. In that time, Mr Provest and his two brothers worried about their mother, who was in her 70s.

They talked about how if there'd been an option to end his pain and take away their mother's burden, they would have taken it.

"My father didn't want to be here," he said.

"He was in and out of consciousness, he was soiling himself in the bed, he had catheters in - it was dreadful, there was no quality of life."

It's the quality of life part the MP will focus on when deciding to support the bill - not only of the patients but those who must watch on.

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