The Academy of Medicine ruled against the legitimization of euthanasia

In a statement, the academics stressed their position against “the acceptance of its implementation as medical practice” and called for guaranteeing palliative care.
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The National Academy of Medicine released a statement on euthanasia, in which it stresses its position “against its legitimization and the acceptance of its implementation as a medical practice.”

“Its use as a means to alleviate pain or suffering, a perfectly reasonable objective in itself, does not morally justify the use of medical techniques with the objective and direct intention of causing the death of a patient, whether it is the doctor whoever does it (euthanasia) and that the doctor limits himself to providing the necessary knowledge and drugs so that the patient can commit suicide (assisted suicide)”, it was warned.

The National Academy of Medicine also recommended in its message “to guarantee the provision of palliative care, as an essential part of the adequacy of the therapeutic effort in conditions of advanced and life-threatening disease, with the aim of implementing all the interdisciplinary strategies necessary to the relief of suffering.”

“In addition, the suspension (or non-indication) of those interventions that may be beneficial in earlier stages of the disease, but that in the advanced condition are futile, harmful, or disproportionate to the achievable objectives, should also be considered,” it added.

“In the context of the end of life, the therapeutic option of palliative sedation is justified when the patient’s symptoms are refractory to palliative interventions and severe suffering appears, highlighting that said palliative sedation does not accelerate death (which will occur promptly due to the seriousness of the underlying disease), but rather mitigates the perception of suffering,” the statement concluded.

Statement text
Regarding euthanasia, the National Academy of Medicine declares that its position is contrary to its legitimacy and acceptance of its implementation as a medical practice. Its use as a means to alleviate pain or suffering, a perfectly reasonable objective in itself, does not morally justify the use of medical techniques with the objective and direct intention of causing the death of a patient, both in the case that it is the doctor who causes death (euthanasia) as in the case that the doctor limits himself to providing the necessary knowledge and drugs so that the patient can commit suicide (assisted suicide). In the light of society, when a patient knows that the doctor could kill him, the relationship between people and medicine would suffer, and the trust necessary for the doctor-patient relationship would lose its value and could turn into mistrust.

Efficient relief and compassionate accompaniment are the acceptable and validated medical response when suffering calls for it.

Based on current scientific knowledge and experience, we affirm that one of the essential purposes of medicine is the relief of pain and suffering caused by disease and health trauma. Evidence demonstrates the effectiveness of palliative care and recommends its early application in the course of advanced and life-threatening illnesses (not only applied at the end of life). In our country, the real and current scope of its coverage is limited and insufficient, despite the recently promulgated national law on palliative care.

For these reasons, the National Academy of Medicine recommends guaranteeing the provision of palliative care, as an essential part of the adequacy of the therapeutic effort in conditions of advanced and life-threatening disease, with the aim of implementing all the interdisciplinary strategies necessary for the relief of suffering. In addition, the suspension (or non-indication) of those interventions that may be beneficial in earlier stages of the disease but that in the advanced condition are futile, harmful or disproportionate to the achievable objectives should also be considered. In the context of the end of life, the therapeutic option of palliative sedation is justified when the patient’s symptoms are refractory to palliative interventions and severe suffering appears, emphasizing that said palliative sedation does not accelerate death (which will occur promptly due to the condition of seriousness of the underlying disease), but rather mitigates the perception of suffering.+

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