An astronomic 90.2 per cent of doctors registered in Malta are against the introduction of euthanasia, a senior lecturer at the University's Faculty of Medicine said this evening.

Speaking during a joint meeting of the House Social Affairs, Health, and Family Affairs committees, Jurgen Abela said this was one of the results of a survey held earlier this year by researchers from the Malta Medical Journal.

The survey had a response rate of 39.3 per cent from a population of 1,007 doctors. It also revealed that only 11.9 per cent of physicians had had terminally ill patients ask to be euthanised, compared to between 34 and 71 per cent in mainland Europe.

On the other hand, most medical professionals agreed with the withdrawal of futile treatment and with the administering of increased doses of analgesia, such as morphine, to relieve pain, even when the latter could potentially further shorten a terminally ill patient’s life.

In doctors’ experience, the proper administration of such palliative measures saw requests for euthanasia lessen.

Dr Abela went to great pains to explain that such medical decisions did not constitute euthanasia, because they aimed at relieving suffering and did not actively hasten death.

However, the distinction between such examples of palliative care and euthanasia was not being made clearly, and Abela said that there was a very strong need for the public to be educated on the differences between each.

 

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us