The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) provides a very good example of responsible, professional and principles-based policy and action on voluntary assisted dying to meet the needs of patients, doctors and the wider community.
DwDTas has prepared a paper outlining why their approach is such a good example, what the CMA did and contrasts it with the very flawed approach by the Australian Medical Association (AMA). Download it here – Canadian Medical Assoc – good practice – Final 23Nov15.
This is the introduction to the updated Canadian Medical Association (CMA) policy, “Euthanasia and Assisted Death”, Update 2014:
Physicians are committed to providing high quality care at the end of life. They are also committed to maintaining their patients’ quality of life. There are rare occasions where patients have such a degree of suffering, even with access to palliative and end of life care, that they request medical aid in dying. In such a case, and within legal constraints, medical aid in dying may be appropriate. The CMA supports patients’ access to the full spectrum of end of life care that is legal in Canada. The CMA supports the right of all physicians, within the bounds of existing legislation, to follow their conscience when deciding whether to provide medical aid in dying as defined in this policy.”
It replaced the previous one that no longer adequately reflected the views of its members as surveyed and which had stated: “Canadian physicians should not participate in euthanasia and assisted suicide”.
The AMA’s current policy includes a similar statement which we believe is also out of touch with current reality. The AMA has recently called for input into the updating of their policy, Position Statement on the Role of the Medical Practitioner in End of Life Care 2007 Amended 2014 but only from members. This is unlike the broad input invited and considered by the CMA in the development of its policy and later papers. A members-only process is very unlikely to meet the standard of informed policy development. It has also been stated that this input “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.”