Review of AMA policy on euthanasia and physician assisted suicide

8 Oct 2015

The AMA’s policy on euthanasia and physician assisted suicide is now due for review. As part of the review process, AMA members (only) are invited to provide their views.

The current policy is contained in the AMA’s Position Statement on the Role of the Medical Practitioner in End of Life Care 2007. Amended 2014. This policy states that medical practitioners should not be involved in interventions that have as their primary intention the ending of a patient’s life. This position is qualified by clearly stating that the following actions (or inactions) do not constitute euthanasia or physician assisted suicide so long as they are undertaken in accordance with good medical practice: not initiating life-prolonging measures; not continuing life-prolonging measures; not offering futile care; the administration of treatment or other action intended to relieve symptoms which may have a secondary consequence of hastening death (commonly known as the doctrine of double effect).

At this early stage of the review, we invite AMA members to provide their views on the current policy via email to ethics@ama.com.au by COB Friday, 11 December 2015. While all comments will be kept confidential, we ask that you include your name in the response to verify that you are an AMA member.

Member comments will be considered in a de-identified way and will be used to inform the next stage of the review process. We will keep all members informed of the progress of the review and further opportunities for member engagement.