Terminally ill patients will be assisted to commit suicide on the premises of a hospital in Switzerland, even though the conditions for euthanasia will be very strict. This has been revealed by the University Hospital at Lausanne's spokesman. The practice is legal in Switzerland.
Until now, hospitals across Switzerland had refused to allow assisted suicide on site and patients wishing to die by assisted suicide had to leave hospital to do so. The new ruling will give patients who are mentally competent and suffering from an incurable disease access to an external doctor or to a member of Exit, the Swiss voluntary euthanasia society.
Terminally ill patients will be allowed in this hospital to take their own lives on hospital premises, as long as they are of sound mind, are already too ill to return home, and have expressed a persistent wish to die. However, hospital staff can choose whether or not they wish to attend the death.
Senior doctors at Lausanne's hospital say the decision was taken after almost three years of consideration and reflects the position of the Swiss Medical Association and the National Committee on Ethics.
Both bodies say that in order to respect the wishes and independence of patients assisted suicide should be permitted in exceptional cases, but that it should never become a routine procedure.