In order to determine New York physicians’ attitudes toward the practice of medical aid in dying (also known as physician–assisted suicide), WebMD was engaged to conduct a survey using its Medscape platform.

Based on previous physician surveys conducted by WebMD/Medscape, the Colorado Medical Society, the Maryland State Medical Society and the Massachusetts Medical Society, a six–question survey (excluding demographics) was developed.

Independent scientific advisors donated their time and expertise to assess the questions for clarity and impartiality.

Key Findings

By a margin of 56–26%, New York physicians support medical aid in dying or physician–assisted suicide (MAID/ PAS).

• When asked whether they support or oppose MAID/ PAS legislation currently before the New York State Legislature — and told about nine stipulations in the bill — doctors support the legislation, 67–19%. 34% strongly support the bill, compared to 12% who strongly oppose it.

New York doctors offer near–universal support (90–3%) for requiring that patients who request MAID/PAS to be offered a referral to hospice if they are not enrolled in hospice when the request is made.

More than three–quarters of doctors (77–10%) say that physicians that choose not to participate in MAID/ PAS should either refer a patient who requests it to a participating physician or provide the patient with a reliable resource for more information.

New York doctors are divided on whether or not they would be willing to write a prescription for a qualifying patient who requests MAID/PAS. 42% of doctors say they would be willing to write a prescription, compared to 35% who say they would not be willing. Nearly one–quarter of physicians (24%) are undecided.

63% of New York doctors say they would like to have the option of MAID/PAS if they become terminally ill, compared to 20% who do not.

View the complete survey results below and download them here.

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The New York Medical Aid in Dying Act would allow mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live to have the option to obtain a prescription for medication they can decide to take if their suffering becomes unbearable, so they can die peacefully. No patient or doctor would have to participate in the law. This medical practice is already authorized in seven states and Washington D.C., which totals nearly 20% of the U.S. population.