Doctors opposing Euthanasia

Members support the World Medical Association Declaration of Geneva 1948

The aim of 'First Do No Harm' is to bring together doctors who are opposed to the current campaign for euthanasia, and to exchange information.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in Article 3: "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." When the right to life depends on "quality," no patient is safe.

Dr. Karel Gunning, World President of the Doctors' Federation, said in London: "Once we accept killing a patient as a solution for one problem, we will find hundreds of situations where killing seems to be the solution."(1) In Holland 10,000 people carry "Don't kill me" papers,- so-called "euthanasia passports."

In Britain the Bland judgment in 1993 defined food and water as "medical treatment" if given through a tube, which allowed them to be withdrawn.(2) A Dept of Health spokesman said this judgment "pointed the way forward." (3)

The BMA's 1998 consultation paper discussed withholding fluids from victims of a stroke.(4) It is constantly argued that advance refusals of treatment should be made legally binding. Penalties have been proposed, in draft legislation, for any doctor who would not pass on a patient to a colleague willing to cause death by dehydration, if he objected to doing it himself.(5)

Dr. Helga Kuhse, a leading campaigner for euthanasia, said in 1984: "If we can get people to accept the removal of all treatment and care - especially the removal of food and fluids - they will see what a painful way this is to die and then, in the patient's best interest, they will accept the lethal injection."(6)

In the first case involving patients in "PVS" since the Human Rights Act 1998 came into force, the chairman of the Family Division of the High Court granted leave to two Hospital Trusts to discontinue "artificia1" hydration ruling that Article 2 of the European Convention, "Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law" did not apply to such patients. Article 3, forbidding inhuman and degrading treatment, did not protect them either, since they were "insensate", (7)

An opinion poll in 1987 showed that if euthanasia were legalised, one-third of the British public would expect all geriatricians to be required to carry it out, as part of their contract.(8)

In the Scottish Parliament the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Bill was passed in March 2000 without the amendments which would have protected adults with incapacity from having their death brought about or hastened.(9) The Lord Chancellor has stated that he intends to introduce a similar Bill in England as soon as parliamentary time allows. (10)

If doctors become killers, patients become afraid to go into hospital. Against allegations that Hospice doctors are killing their patients already, Drs. Nigel Sykes and Fiona Randall have pointed out: "Experience gained in palliative care has shown that morphine, used in a carefully balanced way to counteract pain, doesn't accelerate death".(11) Studies in the U.S.A. confirm this.(12) Death is achieved in Holland with the aid of curare to paralyse the lungs and heart.(13)

Doctors have power over their patients, which must not be abused. "The German medical community set its own course in 1933. In some respects this course even outpaced the new government, which had to rein in the profession's eager pursuit of enforced eugenic sterilisations." (14)

Doctors who disagreed with euthanasia and eugenic policies were silent then.

Doctors in Britain should not be silent now

To Join 'First Do No Harm' please fill in the enrolment form.

FIRST DO NO HARM is an offshoot of the World Federation of Doctors who Respect Human, Life. This was founded by Dutch doctors who had had experience of the necessity to dissent from the Nazi "Physicians' Bureau" and its social hygiene measures, and saw that traditional service to life was again endangered. Social policies of population control being planned by the U.N. World Population Conference in Bucharest in 1974 would include abortion, euthanasia and eugenics. A submission was made to the Conference on behalf of 70,000 doctors.

The Doctors' Federation believes that the purpose of the profession is to serve man's basic need of health. This need is universal. It transcends societies, cultures, boundaries. The Hippocratic code was founded to ensure that Medicine would remain true to its purpose of healing and promoting health, NOT death.



  1. Meeting of the European Doctors Union, Moses Room, House of Lords, 25th March 1997.
  2. Airedale National Health Service Trust V. Bland 1993.
  3. BMJ 1993; 306; 1150.
  4. Withdrawing and Withholding Treatment (Consultation Paper), London, BMA, 1998.
  5. Medical Treatment (Advance Directives) Bill (Section 8), February 1992, prepared by the All Party Voluntary Euthanasia Group.
  6. Fifth Biennial Congress of Societies for the Right to Die, held in Nice, Sept. 1984.
  7. An NHS Trust "A" and "Mrs M" and NHS Trust "B" and "Mrs H" 2000.
  8. MORI poll (1808 respondents) fieldwork 4-7 December 1987, published by the Doctors Federation.
  9. Letter The Scotsman 5th April 2000.
  10. "Courts may get Life or Death Powers" Daily Mail 11th November 1999.
  11. Daily Mail 28th July 1997.
  12. J. Clin Oncol 1992 Jan; 10(1): 149-55 JAMA, 1992 Feb 19; 267(7): 949-953.
  13. Medical Decisions at the: End of Life, The Hague, Ministry of Justice, 1991; 11: 52.
  14. BMJ 1996; 313:1453.