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German appeal court ruling gives support to right to die campaign

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c3501 (Published 29 June 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c3501
  1. Ned Stafford
  1. 1Hamburg

    Germany’s highest criminal appeals court has overturned the conviction for attempted manslaughter of a lawyer who advised a woman to cut the intravenous feeding tube keeping her comatose mother alive.

    In a landmark ruling hailed as a victory by advocates of the right to die, the Federal Court of Justice ruled on 25 June that terminally ill, comatose patients who had previously signalled their opposition to life prolonging treatments have the right to have such treatments stopped. The ruling gives legal cover for what some call “passive” euthanasia of terminally ill patients but is not applicable to the administration of a lethal substance, which remains illegal.

    “The ruling gives legal clarity on a fundamental question in the conflict over what is permissible in the passive sense and prohibited in the active sense on assisted dying,” said …

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