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.

A 74-year-old Briton is on trial for murdering his terminally ill wife in Paphos.

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.

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