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Arch Hellen Med, 33(Supplement 1), 2016, 35-38


The answer of law. The medical doctor facing patient's death: "when" from the legal point of view

E. Maragkaki
Greek Permanent Representation to the European Union, Brussels. Ministry of Health Advisory

Does the medical doctor have the right to intervene in the physical progress of the patient to death by accelerating this process? Is the medical doctor obliged to respect the will of the patient to end his or her life? Granted that the doctor's mission is to save and heal, what is his/her responsibility to the patient? Leaving apart medical deontology, the rules of law that reflect ethos and morality in every society at a given time, determine the implications for the medical doctor for choosing each available option. In the Hellenic Republic, any action or absence thereof that brings in faster passing is a felony. It is needless to say that the medical doctor has the responsibility to offer palliative care. In Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg euthanasia is conditionally allowed. In Switzerland aiding a patient to commit suicide is allowed. In Spain cutting off medical support is allowed. In France the interruption of unnecessary medical care is obligatory. Least but not last, caring for weaker and more vulnerable members of a society is a measure of its civilization.

Key words: Doctor's responsibility, Ethics, Euthanasia, Good death, Medical deontology, When should we die (WSWD).

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