Study Overshadows AMA Recommitment Opposing Physician-Assisted Suicide
At the recent American Medical Association (AMA) Convention, the organization reaffirmed their stance opposing physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia which appears in their Code of Medical Ethics. The Code of Medical Ethics offers guidance to help physicians meet the ethical challenges of medical practice. According to their website, this new edition, adopted last month, is the culmination of an eight-year project to comprehensively review, update and re-organize guidance to ensure that the Code remains a timely, easy to use resource.
A Compassion & Choices news release started a frenzy of media reports that the AMA will consider changing their position, when in fact they reaffirmed their position to oppose physician assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Christian Medical & Dental Associations CEO David Stevens, MD, MA (ethics) commends their decision, “I am pleased that the AMA has reaffirmed their strong opposition to physician assisted suicide and euthanasia. They continue to state, that ‘PAS is fundamentally inconsistent with the physician’s professional role” and that “Requests to physicians for PAS should signal the M.D. that the patient’s needs are unmet and further help is needed.’”
CMDA member Dr. Tom Eppes, a Virginia delegate to the convention and Chair of the Integrated Physician Practice Section of the AMA who was in attendance at the Code of Ethics Decision Reference Committee and speaking for himself says, “You are violating the AMA Code of Ethics when you are in the business of prescribing a deadly drug to your patients. Physicians are healers, not killers.
“At the same time the AMA reaffirmed their decision to oppose physician assisted suicide and euthanasia, a committee agreed to set up a panel that will investigate what is happening throughout the U.S. in regards to end of life care, get input from the AMA members and report back. I expect a small but extremely vocal group of physicians will to try to convince delegates to approve a neutral stance on legalizing PAS. Wherever a state medical organization has done that, legalization has soon followed.“