April 24, 2024


The Swiss assisted suicide group Dignitas is being investigated after a healthy 69-year-old German woman killed herself with its help. The woman, who has not been named for legal reasons, approached Dignitas with a fake medical report saying that she had terminal cirrhosis of the liver. But a routine autopsy by authorities when her body was returned to Germany revealed that this was false. It turned out that her doctor in Augsberg had given her a false medical certificate as a way of helping her to get sick leave from work.

Another casualty was the Swiss doctor who provided the woman with a lethal dose of barbiturates. When he learned that she had not been terminally ill, he committed suicide. Nonetheless, the head of Dignitas, Ludwig Minelli, defended the work of his organisation. “The doctor’s report that I was given indicated the woman was suffering from cirrhosis of the liver as well as hepatitis,” he said. “And in any case every person in Europe has the right to choose to die, even if they are not terminally ill.”