1600 doctors say 'no'
Almost 1600 doctors have signed an open letter warning against the End of Life Act.
Called ‘Doctors Say No’ the open letter is signed by 1593 doctors across New Zealand - all are opposed to the End of Life Choice Act. The move is unusual, possibly the first time doctors have joined in such collective action.
Organiser Dr Sinead Donnelly, a Wellington-based Palliative Medicine specialist, says she is humbled by the response. “We started with a very simple one-page website and it has just snowballed, which highlights the significant concerns of doctors with this bill.”
Here’s the letter:
Doctors want no part in assisted suicide
We endorse the views of the World Medical Association and the New Zealand Medical Association that physician assisted suicide and euthanasia are unethical, even if they were made legal.
We are committed to the concept of death with dignity and comfort, including the provision of effective pain relief and excellence in palliative care.
We uphold the right of patients to decline treatment, as set out in the NZ Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights.
We know that the proper provision of pain relief, even if it may unintentionally hasten the death of the patient, is ethical and legal. Equally the withdrawal or withholding of futile treatment in favour of palliative care is ethical and legal.
We believe that crossing the line to intentionally assist a person to die would fundamentally weaken the doctor-patient relationship which is based on trust and respect.
We are especially concerned with protecting vulnerable people who can feel they have become a burden to others, and we are committed to supporting those who find their own life situations a heavy burden.
Doctors are not necessary in the regulation or practice of assisted suicide. They are included only to provide a cloak of medical legitimacy. Leave doctors to focus on saving lives and providing real care to the dying.
For more information and to see who has signed the open letter click here: Doctors Say No