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BMA opposes ‘assisted dying’ (euthanasia) and equates it to ‘murder’

Date: (28 June 2012)    |    

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The Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying (HPAD) which had called for the British Medical Association to take a neutral stand on the issue of issue of ‘assisted dying’ were left disappointed after the BMA in its conference have voted against the plea for assisted dying which they likened to murder.
The Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying (HPAD) had called for the BMA to move its position from opposition to 'studied' neutrality.
HPAD’s chairman Professor Raymond Tallis presented the motion at the conference, saying that assisted dying should be a matter for society as a whole and not just for the medical profession.
He also called on the union to adopt a neutral position on change in the law, saying the current system was 'morally repugnant'.
He said people who argued that sedative care could address all the problems of all patients were simply ignoring clinical reality which left some patients to seek end to their terrible suffering by taking to starvation and dehydration which were botched suicides or dreadful journey to die abroad.
He added that neutrality was appropriate because the medical profession itself was divided on the issue.
But the doctors speaking at the conference cautioned that a change in position would send out the wrong message.
In rebuttal, Dr Dai Samuel said that doctors should question what they stood for as for him he said he would take a stand to look after his patients and provide high quality care.
He said it was like committing murder which he would never commit. BMA's outgoing chairman of council Dr Hamish Meldrum also urged doctors not to take a neutral stance.
Campaign group Care Not Killing welcomed the decision.
Spokesman Dr Peter Saunders said majority medical opinion remains opposed to assisted dying and this vote is a victory for common sense.
He said that the BMA should now continue its valuable work in campaigning for high quality compassionate care for patients at the end of life.