"Euthanasia, that is the act of deliberately ending the life of a patient, even at the patient's own request or at the request of close relatives, is unethical. This does not prevent the physician from respecting the desire of a patient to allow the natural process of death to follow its course in the terminal phase of sickness."
"Physicians-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. However the right to decline medical treatment is a basic right of the patient and the physician does not act unethically even if respecting such a wish results in the death of the patient."
Euthanasia is fundamentally incompatible with the physician's role as healer, euthanasia would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.
The AMA believes that medical practitioners should not be involved in interventions that have as their primary intention the ending of a person's life. This does not include the discontinuation of futile treatment.
- Permitting assisted dying for some could put vulnerable people at risk of harm.
- Such a change would be contrary to the ethics of clinical practice, as the principal purpose of medicine is to improve patients' quality of life, not to foreshorten it.
- Legalising assisted dying could weaken society's prohibition on killing and undermine the safeguards against non-voluntary euthanasia. Society could embark on a 'slippery slope' with undesirable consequences.
- For most patients, effective and high quality palliative care can effectively alleviate distressing symptoms associated with the dying process and allay patients' fears.
- Only a minority of people want to end their lives. The rules for the majority should not be changed to accommodate a small group.
For varied reasons, many medical speciality bodies are neutral on this subject whilst, to our knowledge, only those formally set up to change the law are pro-euthanasia.