This post was written by Dr Jack Havill, a retired intensive care medical specialist, and David Barber, Media Adviser to the End-of-Life Choice Society.
The New Zealand Medical Association’s position paper “End of Life Choice Act Referendum – what New Zealanders need to think about”, published on its website, is full of misleading statements – some ignorant, some dishonest and some merely reflecting an outdated ethical stance. It also demonstrates considerable confusion about the Act.
Furthermore, the association cannot claim to speak for the medical profession – its members represent less than 20% of doctors in New Zealand. The NZMA also has no right to claim that its opposition to the End of Life Choice Act “represents the views of a strong majority of our membership”. It has never surveyed its reputed 5000 members (who include medical students granted free membership) – it has merely called for anecdotal responses to its stance.
The NZMA’s stance is unfortunate, because when the Act is passed, it will have disqualified itself from giving leadership and advice to the government departments charged with drawing up regulations for operation of the new law during the statutory 12-month establishment period. There can be no other option when the NZMA persists in claiming that assisted dying is unethical and insists it will not participate.
This contradicts the wishes of more than 60% of voters, according to the latest opinion poll. Continue reading “End of Life stance disqualifies the NZMA – doesn’t it? – when Govt seeks medical advice on regulations under new law”