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HealthEuthanasia - in which countries is the procedure approved?

Euthanasia – in which countries is the procedure approved?

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Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny - Reporter at The European Times News

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The desire for the end of life is far from limited to the emotional or mental state of a person. There is a long list of diseases and conditions that can be the basis not only for the patient’s wishes, but also for obtaining approval from a medical commission to perform euthanasia.

The term so familiar comes from ancient Greek and literally translates as “easy and beautiful death”. To date, the full definition of euthanasia, though less lyrical, is: “Consciously and purposefully accelerating the death of an terminally ill person.”

It is important to note the types of euthanasia according to the methods used. The term active euthanasia is used when taking specific medications that lead to the cessation of vital processes in the body. In contrast, passive euthanasia is the deprivation of the patient of supportive procedures and the shutdown of equipment related to his life processes.

Assisted euthanasia is a third type, which is the provision of the necessary medication to the patient, along with instructions on how to take them.

Statistics show that the number of patients who want to be euthanized in countries where this is allowed is growing at a relatively rapid pace.

For example, in the Netherlands, which is the first country to have the procedure carried out – only in 2019, the applications that have been submitted have increased by 22% compared to the previous one – 2018. But the presence of desire, in having a considerable amount of money is not a sufficient argument to obtain approval for euthanasia. Only 1/3 of the submitted applications in the country reach the approval and finalization of the procedure.

Patients go through two independent teams of medical professionals to give an opinion on whether the procedure should be performed. In addition, another important step during the approval procedure is going through a psychiatric consultation, which determines whether the person is able to make the decision on their own without being prompted by temporary depression, for example.

In diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, which are related to compromising the patient’s adequacy, the person has the right to leave a formal request for euthanasia in case of deterioration.

In addition to the Netherlands, euthanasia also takes place in Japan, Canada, Colombia, some US states (Washington, Montana), as well as Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg and others. It is important to note that in some countries not all types of euthanasia are allowed to be performed. In some, only the assisted form is allowed.

Another important point is that not all countries allow the euthanasia of citizens from other countries. Switzerland stands out, where assisted euthanasia can be performed not only on persons with Swiss citizenship, but also from other countries and continents.

One of the most liberal euthanasia laws is in Belgium. In the country, the procedure can be activated even in patients under 18 years of age, as long as they are approved.

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