In an age of increased longevity and medical advances, a discussion over euthanasia is kindled in the last years.
The term euthanasia (Greek, “beautiful death” ) originally means that humans, who did not feel their life worth living due to outside influences as a right to a self-chosen death possessed.
In Europe, there are different ways of handling euthanasia determined by laws.
To discuss this complex topic in the range of this paper, it is necessary to circumscribe the content. In general, there are four different ways of euthanasia.
Active euthanasia means killing someone on his explicit demand, normally practised by physiscians with pharmaceutical additives.
Indirect euthanasia ...view middle of the document...
Relatives, nurses and no one else except the physician is allowed to practice euthanasia. After the death of the patient he has to inform a commission consisting of a medicine, a lawyer and an ethician.
This commission proves if the act was legal and in case of doubts informs the prosecution.
The law nor legalizes assisted suicide neither unproved euthanasia.
The judicial situation in Switzerland is quite different. There, active euthanasia is illegal.
The law (§ 115 in the Swiss penal code) describes that killing someone on his explicit demand is illegal, whereas on the other hand assisted suicide is legal if it happens without any chance on personnal advantages. And because of this arrangement the assistant of dignitas, one of the associations of euthanasia in Switzerland, have to work voluntarily. We will refer to this later in this paper.
The judicial status in Germany differs not so much from the Swiss law. According to § 216 of the German penal code it is also illegal to practise killing on demand. Whereas suicide and therefore assisted suicide as well is exempt from punishment.
In the German past in the Third Reich the nazi regime killed mentally handicapped and disabled people because their lifes were seen as non-livable. They called this process “Eutanasie”(original German word for euthanasia). For this reason nowadays in this context the German word “Sterbehilfe” is preferred. Even today, because of this past, the topic of euthanasia is discussed very controversially and is still a taboo topic.
In the last years this attitude has changed and new discussions came up. Due to this current affair and to the general demographic development which will result in a greater mass of older people, the topic is and will be actual and is concerning many of us. Euthanasia concerns every age group, but for the reason that older people suffer more from the discomfort of the ending of life, they are affected most. The fact that the life expectency was lower in former times and the process of dieing was in a younger age with fewer ailments has to be observed as well, because nowadays the medical improvement allows living longer, also with all negative results in case of affection.
To refer to all these conditions and to discuss euthanasia and different ways to handle it, is what we want to discuss about in the following.
Starting the discussion about euthanasia, we want to introduce the different opinions of organisations, groups and single people. In general there are those who support euthanasia and those who are against it. But because of the different types of euthanasia, there are of course different types of supporters. Some support only one single type of euthanasia and are then opponents of the other types, too.
One organisation which is working with euthanasia is DIGNITAS. This organisation from Switzerland is causing controversial discussions, mainly in Germany. Dignitas was founded in 1998 in Zurich by Ludwig Minelli and...