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NYS medical society to survey physician attitudes about assisted dying

The Medical Society of New York State has decided to ask doctors for their opinions on physician assisted dying.

The medical society, which has about 30,000 members made up of physicians and medical students, has maintained its position of opposing physician assisted dying since 1992.

“In the past, there was a very unified position on this. I’m seeing that there’s divided opinions that are being expressed,” says Dr. Charles Rothberg, the president of the medical society.

The society announced it will develop a survey to gauge the attitudes of New York physicians on the issue. The survey results could be meaningful as lawmakers consider New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act.

“In terms of the legislative proposals, my understanding is that those proposals in the past have not had sufficient support to be passed. I’m very curious - as are lots of stakeholders - as to whether physician attitudes are changing,” Rothberg says.

Details regarding timeframe or who exactly would receive the survey are unclear at this time.

Six states – Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont, California, Colorado - and Washington D.C. currently authorize medical aid in dying for terminally ill residents.