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Friday, June 25, 2010

International News: Germany Clarifies Assisted-Dying Laws

In a landmark ruling that will make it easier for people to allow relatives and loved ones to die, Germany’s highest court ruled today that it is not a criminal offense to cut off life-sustaining treatment for a patient.
The verdict is likely to spur significant changes in the practice of assisted suicide and is certain to restart the debate over euthanasia and the right to die in Germany.

In its decision, the court clearly distinguished between “killing with the aim of terminating life” and an action, “which let a patient die with his or her own consent.”
The ruling strengthens the individual’s right to die with dignity, since terminating life-sustaining treatments will no longer be a crime if patients have declared their wishes.
Lawyer, Wolfgang Putz says: “It protects against abuse and it sets down clear boundaries. It helps the patients and it helps the doctors. It takes away at last the fear of punishment.”
In the case before the court, the woman, Erika Küllmer, was in a persistent vegetative state for five years after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage in 2002. Although the woman had expressed the wish not to be kept alive under such circumstances, the management at her nursing home had refused to let her die.
Chairman of the German Doctors’ Association, Rudolf Henke says: “Before life-sustaining measures are stopped, legal regulations must determine what kind of action is required to reflect the will of the patient. The killing of people remains prohibited.”


1 comment:

  1. Germany’s rules are very different from others. anyways good to learn something new!!

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