Friday, December 19, 2014

German ethics committee rejects the legalization of assisted suicide.

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The German media has portrayed the decision by the German Ethics Council to reject the legalization of assisted suicide in a confusing manner.

According to Deutche Welle news the German Ethics Council rejected a change in the assisted suicide law, but suggested that in certain circumstances, the principle of confidentiality in the doctor-patient relationship should prevail. The article stated:

A majority of the members of Germany's Ethics Council rejects organized assisted suicide carried out with the help of doctors or other professionals, a statement issued on Friday said. 
Such services should be banned "when they are designed for repeated use and occur in a public context, giving them the apparent status of social normality," the statment said. 
However, although the council supported the view of the German Medical Association that helping a patient to die was not part of a doctor's duties, it said in exceptional circumstances a doctor's decision to assist in the suicide of a terminally ill person should be respected as part of a "confidential doctor-patient relationship" - even if the decision contradicted this principle.
The article then quoted Eugen Brysch, the chairman of the German Foundation for the Protection of Patients, who criticized the interpretation of the ethics body statement he stated:
"Hintze and Reimann have twisted the recommendations of the Ethics Council in their favor," he said, saying that a majority of the council's members rejected the idea that a patient had a right to a doctor's assistance with suicide.
Peter Hintze and Carola Reimann, who are members of the Bundestag, are introducing an assisted suicide bill in the German Bundestag in February.

No comments: