Monday, June 11, 2018

AMA to continue to review its position on assisted suicide (language).

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The American Medical Association (AMA) at their annual convention in Chicago, decided not accept the assisted suicide report of the AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) and sent the question back to CEJA for further study. 

This means that the AMA will likely vote on the issue of assisted suicide at next year's Convention.

Two years ago, the AMA asked CEJA to study and make recommendations on the issue of assisted suicide. In early May, CEJA re-affirmed the AMA's long standing position opposing assisted suicide. The CEJA report concluded:

After careful consideration, CEJA concludes that in its current form the Code offers guidance to support physicians and the patients they serve in making well-considered, mutually respectful decisions about legally available options for care at the end of life in the intimacy of a patient-physician relationship. The Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs therefore recommends that the Code of Medical Ethics not be amended.

According to Jane Recker reporting for the Chicago Sun Times, a key point of division in the AMA assisted suicide debate was language. The article by Recker reported:
After debating the American Medical Association Council on Ethical and Judicial Affair’s report that argued the AMA should continue to use the wording “physician-assisted suicide” instead of “aid in dying,” 56 percent of the AMA House of Delegates voted that the study be referred back to the Council to review their previous stance on what language should be used. 
This vote doesn’t mark any binding change in the AMA’s stance on physician-assisted suicide. However, it opens the door to permanent change when the amended report is presented at next year’s conference.
Recker reports that many physicians supported the CEJA report:
However, not all who attended the debate Monday were in agreement with the majority stance. Dr. Diane Gowski, a representative from the Society for Critical Care Medicine, argued that it was irresponsible for the AMA to call physician-assisted suicide anything else, especially in light of the recent suicide contagion effect sweeping the country. 
“Let’s be clear, (physician-assisted suicide) is suicide,” she said. “None of us would hand our patient a gun, so let us not hand them any means to end their life.”
Today's vote at the AMA convention did not change the position on assisted suicide. I commend CEJA for clearly stating why assisted suicide is unethical and I urge physicians to become more involved in the AMA. 

Assisted suicide is never ethical and it is not healthcare.


Real Hospice News said...

Likewise, when a sound patient say no pain medication, not be forced meds through a IV for the sake of billing Medicare or Tricare etc for the sake of the almighty dollar. Thank you Nathan Adelson LV, Hospice violating a veteran,my dads rights and plea to leave. Shame on you.

Kathleen T. Goryl, MBA said...

Kudos to Dr. Diane Gowski for her comment that no doctor would hand their patient a gun, so why hand them any means to end their life? The American healthcare standard is patient centered care. Yet, how can we have Patient centered care if patients can not, as a threshold expectation, count on their doctors and healthcare team to save their lives? (See great new video from Illinois Right to Life on this topic.)