For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 25 Aug 2013.
With few exceptions, medical doctors appeal to ethical guidelines to ensure professional conduct and safeguard patients in their care. Growing popular support for killing the elderly, unwanted, sick and disabled makes it all the more important for doctors and other health care professionals to act on the basis of clear ethical guidelines that protect the vulnerable from harm.
End-of-life issues can be complex and confusing. According to the World Medical Association:
Euthanasia … is unethical. This does not prevent the physician from respecting the desire of a patient to allow the natural process of death to follow its course in the terminal phase of sickness…
Physicians-assisted suicide, like euthanasia, is unethical and must be condemned by the medical profession … However the right to decline medical treatment is a basic right of the patient and the physician does not act unethically even if respecting such a wish results in the death of the patient.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.