Effective from January 2022, the state of Austria legalised the use of a medically prescribed lethal substance to bring about a person’s voluntary death.
The law applies only to those who have a „terminal or incurable condition“ or who experience „persistent, intolerable suffering“, both of which not be controllable with other measures. It applies further to Austrian citizens or regular residents in Austria.
In other words, the possibility exists now to depart life in a planned way, with a possible support by someone else, and with a preparation that can be purchased from a pharmacy.
The act of committing homicide upon a person’s wishes or misleading a person to the act of committing suicide remain forbidden.
With my background in intensive care medicine, medical ethics and philosophy I will explore together with you whether, why and how a planned death may applicable for you. With review of your disease state and state of suffering, I will inform you of any support and assistance that could ease your suffering and possibly improve your current quality of life.
For some people, palliation of severe symptoms or increased care to meet your needs may result in removing your wish for assisted suicide. For others, our consultation process may find you eligible and wishing to pursue assisted dying. In this instance, when all conditions are met, I will attest to this with a medical certificate. Two medical confirmations of eligibility to undertake assisted suicide are required. Once obtained, a notary public will issue an advance suicide direction, and the preparation may be obtained by a pharmacy.
The wish to hasten death and the pursuit of a legal way of ending one’s life are complex matters. To take one’s own life initially seems flagrant, revolting, like a desertion from existence.
A desire to perish does not necessarily mean to have a concrete wish for suicide. On the contrary, an explicit request to actively end one’s life is rarely present. Usually it comes and goes, dependent on concomitant circumstances.
It is those circumstances, such as sickness, suffering, pain, or a limited prognosis of a disease, which are pivotal for the Austrian legislature and required as a precondition.
Philosophically, both the justification nor the prohibition of suicide are sufficiently warranted. Immanuel Kant rejected voluntary dying; Sigmund Freud however committed suicide in London.
We will talk about all this in my practice. The engagement with assisted suicide must take place without prejudice. Free of premature appraisal, we value the thought of a planned dying. Further, you will be informed about any support and assistance that could ease your life and possibly improve your quality of life.
The possible result might be that you will not follow up your idea of realising assisted suicide.
It is as well possible however to arrive at a conclusion that you will adhere to your notion to actively end life in a planned way. In that latter case, if all conditions are met, I will attest a medical certificate.
There are two medical confirmations necessary from two medical doctors, before you can attend a notary public. There, an advance suicide direction can be issued, which you will eventually bring with you to the pharmacy.