Medical Aid in Dying: Should Medical Societies Take A Stance?


ISMS members: Free
Non-ISMS members: $75.00

Course Description

The issue of medical aid in dying has been subject of passionate debate among policymakers, medical ethicists, patient groups, and physician leaders, including physicians participating in ISMS meetings. Most recently, ISMS membership was asked to vote on whether the Society should reaffirm existing policy that explicitly “opposes and declares as unethical physician participation in active euthanasia or physician-aided suicide,” or revise ISMS policy and “adopt a position of engaged neutrality regarding legislative efforts to authorize medical aid in dying…” Ultimately the ISMS voted to retain existing ISMS policy, however, a portion of the membership supported adoption of more neutral language.

Given the strong feelings on both sides of this important and sensitive issue, ISMS is proud to host a one hour debate dedicated to the question of whether medical societies should maintain their active opposition to the practice of medical aid in dying – and risk silencing a diversity of opinions on this deeply personal issue, or adopt a more neutral position. The two sides will be represented by Stephen Smart, MD, who supports maintaining existing ISMS policy, and Santosh Yajnik, MD, who supports moving medical societies toward a more neutral position. The session is moderated by ISMS past-president Robert Panton, MD, who will be posing questions from attendees during the course of the debate.

Additional information


The recommendations contained in this resource are not intended to define conduct that is appropriate in every case, should not be considered as establishing any standard of care, and do not constitute legal advice. Physicians, clinicians and healthcare providers should take care to ensure that all care rendered reflects the best clinical judgment and complies with the laws and regulations of the state or location at which the care was provided.

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Santosh Yajnik, MD

Stephen Smart, MD

Robert W. Panton, MD


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