Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Few Swiss doctors participate in assist suicide

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A study published today by the Swiss Academy of Sciences found that the majority of Swiss doctors are unwilling to participate in assisted suicide while the majority approved of assisted suicide.

The Swiss Academy of Sciences sent questionnaires to 4800 Swiss physicians and received only 1318 responses (27%). Due to the low response rate the results of the survey may not be accurate.

The Swiss media reported that:

For the majority of the 1,318 respondents, support for assisted suicide depended on the specific situation: the more clearly a purely physical and terminal disease is present, the greater the acceptance of physician-assisted suicide. Three-quarters were opposed to assisted suicide in the case of people who are old but otherwise healthy, while over half rejected assisted suicide for patients with mental illness.
The study, also examined physicians’ personal experiences in this area: 
less than half of the respondents had, on at least one occasion, received a serious request for assisted suicide.

About a quarter had, at least once, evaluated whether the eligibility criteria for assisted suicide were met. Most of the physicians concerned have done so very rarely, while individual respondents have undertaken such an evaluation at least 50 times.
In jurisdictions where euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal, very few doctors are willing participate in causing the death of their patients. Out of the 1318 physicians who responded to the study, only 111 had participated in an assisted suicide.

In Switzerland, assisted suicide is carried out by assisted suicide groups. The physician assesses the person who requests assisted suicide and prescribes a lethal dose, but the assisted suicide groups facilitate the death.
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