Euthanasia is conceivable for every third doctor

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Survey: Possible euthanasia for every third doctor. Discussion on euthanasia in the medical profession through new study.

(07/17/2010) A study commissioned by the German Medical Association causes a stir nationwide, because it reveals an inconsistent attitude among doctors towards euthanasia: According to this, 30 percent of doctors can imagine fulfilling their patient's request for assistance with euthanasia. The representative survey was carried out by the Allensbach Institute for Demoscopy. The institute interviewed 527 doctors from various medical fields.

Of the 30 percent for whom suicide assistance was conceivable, four out of five admitted that the patient's right to self-determination to determine the time of death was a top priority. Half of the non-advocates were also convinced of this. This partly contradicts the principles and the model professional code of conduct of the German Medical Association. It rejects the participation of the medical profession in an "active shortening of life" and refers to the professional ethics of doctors.

Organized activities are not supported by euthanasia organizations such as the Swiss association Dignitas. This can mean that similar associations in Germany, such as that of former Hamburg Senator for Justice Roger Kusch, “Sterbe Hilfe Deutschland e.V.”, also have no support in the medical profession.

According to a statement by the Göttingen-based Academy for Ethics in Medicine, under its managing director Dr. phil. Alfred Simon, in the coming months, the principles of end-of-life care by doctors will be worked on. In 2011 the model code of conduct is to be changed. The background to this is that help with suicide has so far been punished. The opinion among the German parties has so far been inconsistent. Kusch's public appearances as euthanasia, especially in the summer of 2008, when he is said to have provided a lethal mix of medicines to an almost 80-year-old woman, kept the discussion rolling.

The German Medical Association now wants to clarify on the medical side whether the professional law for doctors and criminal law continue to represent opposite points. In the current survey, doctors are calling for the expansion of so-called palliative medicine. This is the branch of medicine that is supposed to improve the quality of life for the terminally ill. The promotion of palliative medicine has also been given priority in naturopathy. (tf)

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Every third doctor is open to euthanasia

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