Medical associations oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide

Eutanasia 2Although major newspapers do not talk about it, as this news too has become politically incorrect, many states have recently rejected the legalization or decriminalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide. The last ones are Maine (USA) and New South Wales (Australia).

It is very interesting to notice that, once again, the most decisive rejection came from the medical associations. Indeed, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) openly campaigned against the bill, and so did the Maine Medical Association and the Maine Osteopathic Association, which called the attempt a “very dangerous public policy”.

The position of these medical associations reflects that of the national and international associations. The World Medical Association (WMA), for example, said in 2005: “Physician-assisted suicide, like euthanasia, is unethical and must be condemned by the medical profession. Where the assistance of the physician is intentionally and deliberately directed at enabling an individual to end his or her own life, the physician acts unethically. The World Medical Association reaffirms its strong belief that euthanasia is in conflict with basic ethical principles of medical practice and strongly encourages all National Medical Associations and physicians to refrain from participating in euthanasia, even if national law allows it“. The same position is held by the Standing Committee of Doctors of the European Union .

The American Medical Association believes that “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 participating in assisted suicide, physicians must aggressively respond to the needs of patients at the end of life“. The British Medical Journal has taken a very stand against the legalization of assisted suicide, in fact 80 % of British physicians oppose it.

Even the German Medical Association reiterated the strong rejection of active euthanasia (as it did in 2004) as well as “killing of the patient”, stating that “the physicians´ involvement in suicide contradicts medical ethics“. So did the New Zealand Medical Association. The Organización Colegial Medica de España believes that “the request for assisted suicide or euthanasia should be generally regarded as a call for greater attention, and you can satisfy this demand by applying the principles and practice of good palliative treatments“.

Of course even in Italy the medical associations are opposed. On the occasion of the recent lies of the Associazione Luca Coscioni, which manipulated the results of a scientific study, the Società Italiana di Anestesia Analgesia Rianimazione e Terapia Intensiva (SIAARTI) [Society of anesthesia, analgesia, resuscitation and intensive therapy] stated, through President Massimo Antonelli, that “the whole Siaarti opposes any form of euthanasia“. And again: “the decision to suspend or avoid life-support treatments should never entail the abandonment of the patient“.

The association Medicina&Persona [Medicine&Person] clearly wrote the reasons why a physician must only oppose these practices: “medicine was born from one hope: that health care and assistance are always worthwhile, till the end, because man has a dignity that is given from life itself, from the mere fact that he exists, because he has been made. Due to this recognized dignity the physician can neither create life nor give death to people (Hippocrates is our teacher). And the usefulness of medicine lies in the respect of this ontological element. Otherwise the profession is reduced to mere technique, the tomb of medicine itself, as well as the patient’s“.

The editorial staff, traslation by Vito

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