Over 2,000 healthcare professionals sign petition against euthanasia and assisted dying

(Photo: Unsplash/Daan Stevens)

Doctors, nurses and geriatricians have come out in opposition to attempts to legalise euthanasia and assisted dying in the Republic of Ireland.

They are among the 2,000 healthcare professionals who have signed a petition warning that the benefits of changing the law are outweighed by the risks.

The Irish Palliative Medicine Consultants' Association (IPMCA) has organised the petition as the Dying with Dignity Bill is considered at committee stage. 

The petiton takes issue with wording in the Bill around dying with "dignity" as they say this is already made possible in Ireland by a good standard of healthcare. 

It also voices concerns that changing the law may cause the most vulnerable "to end their lives prematurely" in order to avoid being a "burden" to their families. 

"We, the undersigned, are gravely concerned by the proposal to legislate for assisted suicide and euthanasia, also described as assisted dying in Ireland," the petition reads.

"As healthcare professionals we have respect for each individual, value personal autonomy and also share an interest in protecting and advocating for people who are nearing the end of their lives and who may be vulnerable and at risk.

"We believe the bill creates risks for many receiving healthcare that outweigh any potential benefits. This concern is based on our collective experience over many decades of providing health care to people and their families in Ireland." 

The petition is being supported by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), which said that the Bill would "put increasing pressure on the elderly to take their lives".

It is urging Irish parliamentarians to listen to the healthcare professionals who have signed the petition and "who, working with the dying every day, seek to care for, not kill, their patients."