Massachusetts Medical Society no longer opposed to “medical aid in dying”

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Physician-assisted death has been a hotly debated topic for years, and now, a major medical organization has changed their stance on it.

The Massachusetts Medical Society has announced that after years of opposition, they’ll now be “neutrally engaged” in the debate over medical aid in dying.

Baystate Medical Center Psychiatrist Dr. Lewis Cohen told 22News, they’re joining a growing list of states that have changed their position on the issue. “The Mass Medical Society, like a number of the medical organizations, has a long history of being opposed to this, and there has been a recent change in years.”

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow doctors to help terminally ill patients die through prescribing a deadly dose of medication.

The Medical Society’s decision to stay neutral on the issue means that if it were legalized in Massachusetts, they would recognize it.

Dr. Cohen said the medical society will also now be able to consult lawmakers on the topic. “They can now speak to both sides of it and be open.”

Opponents of the measure say it’s ethically wrong to help another person die, but many supporters believe it can help terminally ill patients die with dignity.

Eli Yousef of Pittsfield told 22News, he thinks it’s a case by case basis. “There are cases out there where people are going through a lot of pain, which is probably causing their family pain and a lot of people pain around them. In that situation, it may be better to move on.”

Medical aid in dying has been legalized in six states.