Financial Mirror (Cyprus)
Bioethics Committee favours euthanasia
The Cyprus National Bioethics Committee believes that euthanasia could be introduced under strict conditions, while public opinion favours having the legal option.
Following a recent debate in parliament on the right to euthanasia and the legislation needed, National Bioethics Committee boss Dr Constantinos Fellas said society should be ready for this ultimate medical choice as long as strict conditions apply.
The Committee has set criteria and conditions and strongly believes that all the limits and pharmaceutical technology should be exhausted to offer effective soothing and hospice care to patients who suffer and experience unbearable pain and misery.
“In such extreme and very rare cases, and in the absence of treatment, the patient chooses, while fully conscious, to end their life, human compassion should be ready to offer this last medical option under strict conditions.”
Dr Fellas stressed that because it is impossible to cover each case with general rules, specialists such as doctors, psychologists, social workers or other experts should be present to ensure that the right decision is made.
He said it is understood that all legal measures must be taken during the ratification and implementation of euthanasia, and appropriate legal documents are prepared to protect the doctors or other health professionals involved.
He agreed that passing such legislation is very difficult even if a society is generally receptive to euthanasia; preventive measures should ensure that the four basic principles of bioethics are respected.
Dr Fellas told the Cyprus News Agency the Committee fully respects the opposition of the Church on euthanasia, but it disagrees with the application of involuntary euthanasia.
The Cyprus Bioethics Committee carried out a study on the right to euthanasia between December 2021 and March 2022 with 750 people.
Some 61% said they agree or rather agree that people have the right to choose death through euthanasia, while 79% argued this right could be used for incurable chronic disease or when all boundaries and pain relief options are exhausted.
A majority, 40% said people were deprived of euthanasia due to spiritual and/or religious beliefs, and 31% said there was a gap in legislation.
If the legal framework made euthanasia legal with the individual’s explicit consent, the majority of participants (63%) agreed it would be acceptable.
If euthanasia was socially and medically acceptable and legally permissible in Cyprus, most participants (48%) stated they agreed or would rather agree if a relative chose to end their life through this procedure.
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British pensioner David Hunter is on trial for premeditated murder after the prosecution rejected a request by his defence lawyers to lower the charge to assisted suicide.