Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia in Switzerland: Allowing a Role for Non-Physicians. (Abstracts)
Hurst, Samia A., Issues in Law & Medicine
Samia A. Hurst & Alex Mauron, Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia in Switzerland: Allowing a Role for Non-Physicians, 326 BRIT. MED. J. 271 (2003).
The involvement of a physician is usually considered a necessary safeguard in assisted suicide and euthanasia. Legislation in Holland, Belgium, and Oregon all require it, as did the legalization of euthanasia in Australia's Northern Territories. Article 115 of the Swiss penal code considers assisting suicide a crime only if the motive is selfish. It condones assisting suicide for altruistic reasons. It does not require the involvement of a physician, nor that the patient be terminally ill. It only requires that the motive be unselfish. Prosecution happens if doubts are raised on the patient's competence to make an autonomous choice. This is rare.
Swiss law does not recognize the concept of euthanasia. It is considered less severely than murder without the victim's request, but it remains illegal. In practice, many physicians oppose assisted suicide and euthanasia, and hospitals have barred assisted suicide from their premises. …