Assisted dying: should doctors help patients to die?


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The Royal College of Physicians will survey all its members in February on this most controversial question. It says that it will move from opposition to neutrality on assisted dying unless 60% vote otherwise. The BMJ explores several conflicting views. From Canada, palliative care doctor Sandy Buchman explains why he sees medical aid in dying as a compassionate treatment that fully respects patient autonomy. The Canadian Medical Association is neutral on the issue, and Jeff Blackmer, its vice president for international health, shares how that stance enabled it to represent all its members, including doctors with conscientious objections. But many are unconvinced to say the least. Rob George, a UK palliative care doctor and professor at King's College London, says assisted suicide has no place in medicine. Tony Baldwinson, from the UK campaign group Not Dead Yet, worries for disabled people were society to endorse doctors actively ending lives. And Zoe Fritz, a consultant physician in acute medicine at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, has a proposal that she says would protect the doctor-patient relationship. Read all our content at "Why I decided to provide assisted dying: it is truly patient centred care" by Sandy Buchman "How the Canadian Medical Association found a third way to support all its members on assisted dying" by Jeff Blackmer "Religious and non-religious people share objections to assisted suicide" by Mark Pickering "The courts should judge applications for assisted suicide, sparing the doctor-patient relationship" by Zoe Fritz

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