Medical Association Policies
Washington State Medical Association
The WSMA strongly believes the social commitment of the physician is to prolong life and relieve suffering. For humane reasons, with informed consent, a physician may do what is medically necessary to alleviate severe pain, or cease or omit treatment, including nutrition and hydration by other than normal natural methods, to let a terminally ill patient die, but he/she should not intentionally cause death.
American Medical Association
Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician's role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks. Instead of participating in assisted suicide, physicians must aggressively respond to the needs of patients at the end of life. Patients should not be abandoned once it is determined that cure is impossible. Multidisciplinary interventions should be sought including specialty consultation, hospice care, pastoral support, family counseling, and other modalities. Patients near the end of life must continue to receive emotional support, comfort care, adequate pain control, respect for patient autonomy, and good communication.
American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians–American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP–ASIM) does not support the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. The routine practice of physician-assisted suicide raises serious ethical and other concerns. Legalization would undermine the patient–physician relationship and the trust necessary to sustain it; alter the medical profession's role in society; and endanger the value our society places on life, especially on the lives of disabled, incompetent, and vulnerable individuals. The ACP–ASIM remains thoroughly committed to improving care for patients at the end of life.
I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest such counsel.