On June 25, 2010, the German Federal Court of Justice ruled that removing a patient from life support is not a criminal offense if the terminal individual had previously given consent. The ruling legalized the right to die and overturned the nine-month sentence of a lawyer who had been convicted for advising a client to remove her mother from life support after being in a coma since 2002. Before slipping into the coma, the patient had told her daughter she did not want her life to be prolonged artificially. Upon the lawyer's advice, the daughter had removed the gastric tube keeping her mother alive. The ruling only legalized the right to die through the passive assistance of removing a patient from life support. Other "active" forms of assistance remained punishable by up to five years in prison.
Learn more about Germany and physician assisted suicide from the JURIST news archive.
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