In September, The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) surveyed its 22,500 members regarding physician assisted suicide (PAS). They say that because of that survey, the MMS decided to “rescinded its longstanding opposition to physician assisted suicide,” and to adopt a position of “neutral engagement.” But is that consistent with the survey results?
The survey itself had no real member support, since they received only 2649 responses—that’s just 13% of the membership.
The key question asked: Which one of the following policy positions do you want to see MMS take moving forward?
Why did the MMS adopt the least popular position—neutrality? With so many who did not answer and who were not sure, never mind so few that even filled out the survey, no clear position emerges. In other words, the switch had nothing to do with the survey.
925 responses (35%) came from members over 65, far exceeding other age groups. The next closest was 610 responses (23%) from those 56 to 65. Isn’t the fact that mostly older physicians responded a good thing? Well, no. It shows they are out for themselves instead of their patients.
We know from the Oregon PAS data that:
That certainly fits the profile of a physician. But if they think it’s fine for themselves, what about their patients, many of whom are not White or college-educated? That’s where the rest of the survey comes in.
Remember, only 13% of members responded. Of those, half of them did not even treat patients with terminal diseases, and another 28% did so “sometimes” (a highly subjective term.) Shockingly, 81% were not familiar with the proposed legislation but 62% support it anyway.
Yet most respondents expressed concerns about:
Every physician matters, each patient counts? If that motto of the MMS means anything, it must oppose PAS based on these survey results.