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The Patient's Wish to DieResearch, Ethics, and Palliative Care$
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Christoph Rehmann-Sutter, Heike Gudat, and Kathrin Ohnsorge

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198713982

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198713982.001.0001

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Acting on a wish to die at the end of life: the Swiss situation

Acting on a wish to die at the end of life: the Swiss situation

(p.97) Chapter 9 Acting on a wish to die at the end of life: the Swiss situation
The Patient's Wish to Die

Alexandre Mauron

Oxford University Press

In Switzerland, the context of wishing to die in end-of-life situations is inextricably linked to the legality of assisted suicide and of organizations that provide it. This liberal stance has deep historical roots and strongly shapes public attitudes on the right to die. It also differs from the situation in other liberal countries in which euthanasia and/or assisted suicide are legal, since there is little positive regulatory guidance on assisted suicide, for either organizations or individual physicians. This open and widely acknowledged practice of assisted suicide is an obvious challenge for palliative care, whose philosophy is antagonistic towards providing active aid in dying. While in other liberal countries palliative care has defined rules covering euthanasia and/or assisted suicide, the Swiss situation is much less clear. There are relatively few specific data on the attitudes of the palliative care community and of patients facing choices at the end of life.

Keywords:   end-of-life, assisted suicide, euthanasia, right to die, palliative care philosophy

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