Judges allow medical euthanasia in exceptional cases
The judgment of the Berlin administrative court causes excitement: Berlin doctors may in exceptional cases give terminally ill patients substances for suicide. The State Medical Association had prohibited a doctor from doing this in 2007. According to the judges, however, a general ban violates freedom of conscience and the freedom to exercise a profession.
The ruling only applies to plaintiffs and the Berlin State Medical Association. Doctors should not generally prohibit doctors from handing over lethal substances for suicide to patients for whom there is no longer any chance of a cure, according to the judgment of the Berlin Administrative Court. Assisted euthanasia is still prohibited for healthy and mentally ill people.
In the current case, a doctor who was the second chairman of the Dignitas Germany association at the time of the lawsuit had brought an action against a prohibition by the Berlin State Medical Association in 2007. In the ruling at the time, the medical association referred to the "medical ethics" and prohibited the doctor not only from assisted suicide by assisted suicide but also "substances that, alone or in conjunction with others, are capable of causing a person to die, passed on to patients or otherwise left for use for their intended suicide ”. Violation of this prohibition would have resulted in a penalty payment of EUR 50,000.
Professional and organized euthanasia continues to be banned However, the judges saw the general ban as a violation of freedom of conscience and freedom to practice. In exceptional cases, the doctor could get into a conflict of conscience. In the press release of the administrative court it says: "Measured against the constitutional standard of freedom of professional practice (Art. 12 GG) and the doctor's freedom of conscience (Art. 2 Para. 1 GG), however, no unrestricted ban on medically assisted suicide should have been issued . It is incompatible with the above-mentioned fundamental rights to prohibit medical assistance for suicide even in exceptional cases and under the threat of a penalty payment, in which a doctor would come into a conflict of conscience due to a long-lasting, close personal relationship because the person who voluntarily committed the suicide wishes that they suffer intolerably and irreversibly from an illness and that alternative means of limiting suffering are not sufficiently available. The plaintiff has shown that such an exceptional case is not a mere theoretical possibility for him outside of his work for the euthanasia association. ”The judges insisted that healthy and mentally ill people are exempt from the supply of lethal medication. In addition, medical associations are "allowed" to ban professional or organized euthanasia, such as offered by the Dignitas association. (ag)
Outrage at euthanasia clinic
Palliative medicine: doctors decide about death
Every third doctor is open to euthanasia
Ex-Justice Senator Kusch founds euthanasia e.V.
Photo credit: D. Braun / pixelio.de