February 29, 2024

German doctors set to support assisted suicide

Support growing in Germany despite opposition

The professional association for German
doctors may soon relax its disapproval of physician assisted suicide.
of the Bundesärztekammer (BAK, or National Medical Association),
Hoppe, says that new guidelines are being finalised and will be
published in
the first half of the year.

Some doctors oppose change, but the
tendency is clear, says Dr Hoppe. Current guidelines state that if a
helps someone commit suicide, he is acting unethically, and therefore
unprofessionally. This will be replaced by the notion that such
assistance does
not belong in the medical repertoire.

Since assisted suicide is legal in Germany,
this means that it will be up to each doctor to decide whether he or she

Support for physician assisted suicide
seems to be growing. In June last year Germany’s highest court ruled
that it
was not a criminal offense to cut off life-sustaining treatment of
patients who
had previously expressed a wish to die.

And in July police dropped the prosecution
against two adult children of a woman doctor who had prescribed lethal
for herself in the event that she became demented. She took the drugs in
presence and died. The prosecutor explained: “a relative cannot be
charged with
a criminal offense, if he respects the serious decision to die made by
his kin
and therefore does not immediately ring for medical help when the person
capacity and consciousness or initiate other emergency measures.” ~ Die
Dec 28
; World Federation of
Right to Die Societies, Feb 2
; New
Times, June 25

Michael Cook