Doctors want no part in assisted suicide
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.
If you are a New Zealand doctor and would like to add your name to this Open Letter, please email [email protected] with your name, qualifications and Medical Council registration number.
‘Doctors say no’ is an Open Letter to all New Zealanders by doctors supporting the World Medical Association and New Zealand Medical Association position statements that euthanasia and assisted suicide are unethical, even if they were to become legal.
This initiative has been organised by the Care Alliance, a charitable trust committed to nurturing better conversations about dying in Aotearoa New Zealand.