With its decision to withdraw opposition toward physician assisted suicide, the Massachusetts Medical Society has turned back the clock to a time when physicians were not trusted.
Hippocrates practiced medicine when physicians could choose to heal their patients or to kill them. He realized that caused physicians to be mistrusted and so he penned the Hippocratic Oath, a version of which many doctors doctors still take today. That oath states in part, “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asks for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.” The Massachusetts Medical Society decided that this patient-protecting oath was obsolete when delegates voted to abandon their long-held opposition to physician assisted suicide. It was only six years ago that the Massachusetts Medical Society voted overwhelmingly to maintain its opposition to prescribing lethal drugs.