Young medics show support controlled euthanasia in direct opposition to their seniors.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on October 26, 2017

In defiance of their more experienced counterparts, medical students have overwhelmingly declared their support for doctor-assisted dying.
The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) released a policy document on Thursday announcing its majority support for voluntary-assisted dying (VAD).

Speaking exclusively with the Sydney Morning Herald, president of the AMSA Rob Thomas revealed students had diverse opinions on how best to implement VAD, and what safeguards should be imposed, but agreed strongly in principle.

In fact, 19 out of 21 AMSA representatives from every Australian medical school voted in favour of the policy.

“As the future of Australia’s medical profession, this is an important policy especially given the current political climate and debate in the community,” Mr Thomas said.

The AMSA’s stance is in direct opposition to the Australian Medical Association (AMA), which maintains doctors should not be involved in interventions that ultimately end a person’s life.

President of the AMA, Dr Michael Gannon, told Fairfax Media that students didn’t have the life experience needed to weigh in on such an important debate.
“The truth is we are talking about medical students who have had either no… or minimal experience on wards and their views are likely to change as they come to deal with death and dying,” he said.

“I had views of the world when I was 22 years old that I no longer hold,” he added.

I had views of the world when I was 22 years old that I no longer hold

Responding to Dr Gannon’s criticism, Mr Thomas said the students were “not naïve”.

“We know that different specialties tend to hold different views on this issue,” he says.“But we are not naïve. Our policy research team have done the research and explored the ethical issues, and our position reflects the views of our society more broadly.”

The AMSA independent was published in the wake of Victoria’s lower house passing a historic euthanasia bill last Friday, and NSW Parliament introducing a cross-party assisted dying bill last month.