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Quality of Life

In making decisions for the treatment of seriously deformed newborns or persons who are severely deteriorated victims of injury, illness, or advanced age, the WSMA agrees that the primary consideration should be what is best for the individual patient and not the avoidance of a burden to the family or society. Life should be cherished despite disabilities and handicaps, except when the prolongation would be inhumane and unconscionable. Under these circumstances, the WSMA agrees that withholding or removing life supporting means is ethical. In situations involving newborns, the advice and judgment should be readily available, but the WSMA believes the decision whether to exert maximal efforts to sustain life should be the choice of loving parents, unless there is convincing evidence to the contrary. (JC 2.13-87) (Reaffirmed A-17)

The WSMA remains committed to professional standards that will always allow our patients to feel safe under our care without fear regarding any conflicting motives physicians may have. The WSMA remains committed to providing support for medical interventions that foster quality end of life care without providing a means for patients to hasten their own death. (Res A-7, A-07) (Amended A-18)

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Abbreviations for House of Delegates report origination:

EC – Executive Committee; BT – Board of Trustees; CPA – Council on Professional Affairs; JC – Judicial Council; CHS – Community and Health Services

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