In a radio debate with German Emergency Head Dr Michael de Ridder (see news item on April 15, 2010 on this site) on the occasion of the appearance of De Ridder’s book, Dr Hoppe, President of the Deutsche Ärztekammer (the National Doctors Organisation) , made a sensational statement taking a more relaxed position on physician-assisted suicide than he has conveyed in the past.
Assisted suicide, within certain parameters, is not illegal in Germany. However, doctors have always felt threatened by their professional association in fear that this group might withdraw their medical approbation, which would mean they would not be able to practice any longer.
Now Dr Hoppe is reported as saying: No fear, that is not so. While some in the organization feel such assistance is medically unethical, other members do not. Doctors need not worry about possible negative professional consequences if they assist, because there won’t be any.
Even more promising is Dr. Hoppe’s announcement that the Association is working on an overall review of its past position on assisted suicide, and expects to issue a new (presumably more liberal position statement) next year. In addition, he indicates that his organization can be expected to issue a strong and unequivocal statement that “clear and single-minded Patient Directives ” constitute binding documents for doctors, and must be adhered to.
Visitors who can read/understand German can click here to read the German report
(thanks to ERGO’s German Correspondent)