On November 13th, the influential medical publication Medscape released the results of its 2020 medical ethics
survey. A full 55 percent of the 5,000 American physicians queried answered “Yes” to the question, “Should physician-assisted dying be made legal for terminally ill patients?” This represents a nearly ten percent increase in support over the past ten years. Even more significant, the percentage of doctors answering “no” to this question declined dramatically over the past ten years, from 41 percent down to 28 percent.
Even the wording of the question represents progress. Note the usage of the term “physician-assisted dying” — NOT physician-assisted suicide.” As advocates know, there’s a vast difference between suicide as it’s commonly understood — as a tragedy, as the irrational and typically impulsive and often violent act of a person suffering depression or other mental illness — and medical aid in dying, a highly rational and well-considered act of a terminally ill person making a difficult but wise choice to spare themselves their final agonies.
The Medscape survey is titled, “Ethics 2020: Life, Death, and Painful Dilemmas — A Decade of Change in Physicians’ Attitudes”, and you can read the full text at: https://www.medscape.com/slideshow/2020-ethics-report-life-death-6013311#1 NOTE: Requires creating a free account if you haven’t already.