June
29
 

BMA maintains official opposition to assisted suicide

The British Medical Association has resisted pressure by some members to move from opposition to neutrality on assisted suicide. On Wednesday, BMA delegates at their annual conference in Bournmouth rejected a two-part motion. The first declared that “assisted dying is a matter for society and not for the medical profession” and the second that “the BMA should adopt a neutral position” on changing the law. Both lost.

A lobby group within the BMA, Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying, had forcefully argued for a position of "studied" neutrality. Its head, Raymond Tallis, a polymath who is a novelist and philosopher as well as a doctor, told the conference that the present system was "morally repugnant".

"Those of you who argue that palliative care can address all the problems of all patients are simply ignoring clinical reality. A reality in which some patients seeking an end to their terrible suffering resort to death from dehydration and starvation, botched suicides or dreadful journeys to die abroad. Neutrality is appropriate because the medical profession itself is divided.”

However, it was the arguments like that put forward by the BMA's outgoing chairman of council Hamish Meldrum which prevailed. He said:

"The first part of this motion says that this is a matter for society and not for the medical profession. The medical profession is not only part of society, but it would be members of the medical profession that would have to carry out the wishes of society were there to be a change in the law.

"On (the second part of the motion) it says the BMA should adopt a neutral position on a change in the law. I think adopting a neutral position is probably the worst of all options. Neutrality does tend to exclude us from the argument, an argument which would have a huge bearing on the working lives of doctors.

"I don't come to this from any strong religious view but I do come to these views from having worked as a doctors for 40 years - mostly in general practice - where I have always felt I have been able, in almost every occasion, to support my patients when they were dying without having to actively end their lives."

Independent, June 27



This article is published by Michael Cook and BioEdge.org under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

comments powered by Disqus
 

 Search BioEdge

 Subscribe to BioEdge newsletter
rss Subscribe to BioEdge RSS feed


 Recent Posts
Australia launches inquiry into safety and ethics of transgender medicine
18 Aug 2019
Fertility becomes a global money-spinner 
18 Aug 2019
‘Sperm sharing’ schemes in UK make IVF cheaper
18 Aug 2019
Push in Germany for legalisation of surrogacy
18 Aug 2019
Should countries compete to have the most permissive stem cell regulations?
18 Aug 2019

Home | About Us | Contact Us | rss RSS | Archive | Bookmark and Share | michael@bioedge.org

BioEdge - New Media Foundation Ltd © 2004 - 2019