AMA Victoria statement on the AMA President’s tweets
Wednesday 18 October 2017
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) Victoria wishes to distance itself from recent comments made by the AMA Federal President on social media.
AMA Victoria holds that these tweets reflect Dr Michael Gannon’s personal views on euthanasia and are not consistent with the AMA’s position detailed below.
AMA Victoria apologises to the Premier of Victoria, the Victorian Minister for Health, AMA members and others who have lost a parent and were offended by the AMA President’s twitter comments.
While the AMA believes that doctors should not be involved in interventions that have as their primary intention the ending of a person’s life, the AMA’s policy also recognises that there are diverse views on this issue within the medical profession, and acknowledges that laws in relation to euthanasia are ultimately a matter for society and government.
AMA Victoria hopes that the tone of the parliamentary and public debate is based on respect and fairness for others‘ opinions.
The AMA’s formal Twitter accounts include: @amavictoria @ama_nsw @ama_wa @ama_media
An extract of the AMA's position on euthanasia is detailed below. These points are to be read collectively.
3.1 The AMA believes that doctors 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 treatments that are of no medical benefit to a dying patient.
3.2 The AMA recognises there are divergent views within the medical profession and the broader community in relation to euthanasia and physician assisted suicide.
3.3 The AMA acknowledges that laws in relation to euthanasia and physician assisted suicide are ultimately a matter for society and government.
3.4 If governments decide that laws should be changed to allow for the practice of euthanasia and/or physician assisted suicide, the medical profession must be involved in the development of relevant legislation, regulations and guidelines which protect:
- all doctors acting within the law;
- vulnerable patients – such as those who may be coerced or be susceptible to undue influence, or those who may consider themselves to be a burden to their families, carers or society;
- patients and doctors who do not want to participate; and
- the functioning of the health system as a whole.
3.5 Any change to the laws in relation to euthanasia and/or physician assisted suicide must never compromise the provision and resourcing of end of life care and palliative care services.
3.6 Doctors are advised to always act within the law to help their patients achieve a dignified and comfortable death.
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