Friday, June 25, 2010

Germany, Latest Country to Wrestle with Assisted Suicide

From Deutsche Welle:

Germany's highest criminal court has ruled that passive assisted suicide is legal if the patient has explicitly decreed his or her wish that treatment used to keep the patient alive should be terminated.

"Turning off a ventilator or cutting a feeding tube fall under the category of permissable forms of terminating treatment," judge Ruth Rissing van Saan said.

The ruling by the Federal Court of Justice refers to a case involving Erika Kuellmer, a then terminally-ill patient in her seventies, who had been in a coma for five years. Prior to becoming unconscious, she indicated to her daughter that she would not want to be kept alive should she fall into a coma.

On the advice of her solicitor Wolfgang Putz, who specializes in medical law, the daughter tried to help her die by cutting the tube that was feeding her mother. But staff at the care home intervened and the patient survived another two weeks before dying a natural death.

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Blogger Alex Schadenberg said...

It wasn't assisted suicide, or passive assisted suicide

July 7, 2010 at 7:24 PM  
Blogger Ann Neumann said...

Hi Alex,

I agree, yet that's how, in many ways, the Kuellmer case has been characterized. The difference between Robert Baxter and Kuellmer is what? The difference between Kuellmer and Terri Schiavo is what? We're all wrestling with definitions.

Since two of the three determining factors in death have been "solved" -- breathing and heart function -- we are left as a society to figure out what death is.

July 8, 2010 at 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Search Engine Marketing said...

I also agree with you that that's how, in many ways, the Kuellmer case has been characterized.

December 16, 2010 at 9:14 PM  

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