Saturday, June 15, 2019

American Medical Association opposes assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Fabulous news. 

The American Medical Association (AMA) has overwhelmingly upheld its opposition to assisted suicide.

After years of deliberation the (AMA) delegates, at their House of delegates meeting, supported the assisted suicide report of the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) by a vote of 360 to 190 and re-affirmed their position opposing assisted suicide by a overwhelming vote of 392 to 162.
Joyce Frieden, reporting for Medscape on the deliberations stated that the delegates supported two opinions. That being:
... Code of Medical Ethics Opinion 5.7, which states that "permitting physicians to engage in assisted suicide would ultimately cause more harm than good. Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician's role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks. Instead of engaging in assisted suicide, physicians must aggressively respond to the needs of patients at the end of life."

... E-1.1.7 of the AMA's Principles of Medical Ethics, states that "Physicians are expected to uphold the ethical norms of their profession, including fidelity to patients and respect for patient self-determination ... Preserving opportunity for physicians to act (or to refrain from acting) in accordance with the dictates of conscience in their professional practice is important for preserving the integrity of the medical profession as well as the integrity of the individual physician, on which patients and the public rely. Thus physicians should have considerable latitude to practice in accord with well-considered, deeply held beliefs that are central to their self-identities."
Frieden, reporting for Medscape, stated that Diane Gowski, MD, of Clearwater, Florida, an alternate delegate for the Society of Critical Care Medicine and speaking on behalf of the Chest Caucus stated:
"We would not give our patients a gun or revolver ... so we should not be supplying them with lethal drugs. Physician-assisted suicide violates natural moral law. We urge the AMA to stand firm, as any change from the current position will only confuse the public as to the intention and role of their physicians."
Dr Shane Macaulay
According to Frieden Shane Macaulay, MD, of Kirkland, Wash., speaking for the Washington delegation stated:
"Oregon legalized assisted suicide in 1997 with repeated assurances that it would stay contained and would not become euthanasia," he said. "Just last month, the Oregon state House of Representatives approved a bill to allow patient death by lethal injection, showing the inevitable progression from assisted suicide to euthanasia once physicians have accepted the idea that taking a patient's life is permissible." 
"In Canada, assisted suicide and euthanasia were legalized only 3 years ago, and in the 3 years we've debated this topic here, euthanasia has become a runaway contagion in Canada, with over 4,000 deaths last year." 
"These alarming developments show us that the wheels are coming off bus on assisted suicide. We do not have the luxury of time to continue to fail to act on the CEJA report while the real-world situation deteriorates. Unless we're willing to embrace widespread euthanasia, we must accept the CEJA report and reaffirm this policy now as a firewall against what is [happening in] Canada."
At a 2016 meeting of the AMA, delegates voted to ask CEJA to review the AMA policy on assisted suicide.

In May 2018, CEJA upheld the AMA policy on assisted suicide, but in June 2018, AMA delegates asked CEJA to continue reviewing its policy on assisted suicide.

In October 2018, CEJA adjusted the language of its policy while upholding that the AMA maintain its opposition to assisted suicide. In November 2018, AMA delegates once again decided to ask CEJA to continue reviewing the AMA policy on assisted suicide.

After three years of intense review of its assisted suicide policy, AMA delegates overwhelmingly upheld that assisted suicide is incompatible with the physician's role as healer.

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