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6th International Congress of the WIAMH

Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, August 13-15, 1999.

RELIGIOUS, ETHICAL AND LEGAL VIEW ON MEDICAL ASSISTANCE IN SUICIDE AND EUTHANASIA

Esmina AVDIBEGOVIĆ Osman SINANOVIĆ

Psychiatric Clinic, University Clinical Centre of the Faculty of Medicine of the Tuzla University, 75 000 Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Medical assistance in suicide and euthanasia is the subject of difficult discussions in many countries of the world. The number of persons who commit suicide is increasing, and at the same time the number of persons who commit suicide with the medical assistance and within the programmes of euthanasia is also increasing. Groups in risk of suicide – elderly or chronically ill persons – are according to many researches the groups who are most likely to commit suicide with the assistance of a physician. Existence of the idea of "good death" presents the concept that is damaging the concept of preservation of health. According to the Criminal Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina, doctor and other persons are responsible before the Law in case where they support someone in its wish for a suicide or where they take part in someone’s decision to commit suicide. From the medical and ethical point of view over the medical assistance in suicide, one of the fundamental ethical principles of the Hypocrite’s Oath is being violated. That principle is "Do not kill and give no lethal medical". Suicide is declared as a God’s dislike in most of the religions and it meets their conviction. Assistance in commitment of a suicide and euthanasia are contradiction to the principle of the God’s right for holistic of human life. It is known that Islam affirms life and fulfilment of vital needs, and it rejects division on isolated spiritual and secular patterns of living and belief that the life should be foretold and destroyed in order to save the soul. Opening of the processes for legalisation of physician assisted suicide opens the possibility for misuse of patients. Bosnia and Herzegovina still does not features public discussions on physician assisted suicide and there are no recorded cases of it. Social, political and economic changes occurring as the consequences of war, and openness to various programmes direct us to necessity in opening of the discussion and follow-up of suicides.

Key words: Religion – Ethics – Suicide – Euthanasia

Reference:

  1. Avdibegović E (1997) Social and Psychiatric Analysis of Suicide and Attempts in Suicide on the Tuzla region. Master Thesis at the Faculty of Medicine of the Tuzla University (Mentor Prof. PhD SCI O.Sinanović)
  2. Aldridge D (1998) Suicide: The Tragedy of Hopelessness. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
  3. Baume P, O’Malley E, Bauman A (1995) Professed Religious Affiliation and Practice of Euthanasia. J Med Ethics 21 (1): 49-54.
  4. Churchill LR, King NMP (1997) Physician Assisted Suicide, Euthanasia, or Withdrawal of Treatment. BMJ 315: 137-138
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