AMA past president supports VAD
Photo of Professor Brian Owler thanks to SMH photo by Andrew Meares
Neurosurgeon and the immediate past federal president of the AMA and a former head of the NSW body, Professor Brian Owler says it was the “terrible death” of his father that convinced him to support assisted dying for terminally ill patients. “…I’m not criticising the doctors who were looking after him, who were very good and caring for him – that it was still a terrible death..and hearing the stories of other people having terrible deaths … I think there is a role [for assisted dying], and I think you have to examine what your role as a medical professional is [in that].”
Professor Owler heads a crucial taskforce that will report to the Victorian government next month on the details of how assisted dying should be implemented in the state. “My knowledge of the AMA, of how medicine works, can be an advantage in making sure the legislation can be as good as it can be, in terms of not only supporting patients but also supporting medical practitioners as well.” Owler told The Guardian that if views on an issue such as assisted dying became so split that coming to a solid position statement was impossible, the AMA, which represents about 30% of doctors, should consider adopting a neutral position.