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Thursday, 18 March 2021

Spanish Parliament legalises euthanasia


The Spanish Parliament made history on March 18 (Thursday). Members of the Congreso de los Diputados voted to pass the final legislation, making Spain the seventh country in the world to legalise euthanasia under certain circumstances, and the fourth European country alongside Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg. 

Since the euthanasia bill was approved by Congress in December 2020, the passage of the euthanasia bill has been delayed by the pandemic, and it is expected that the bill will become a legal reality by April 2021. The new law stipulates that if a series of conditions are met, terminally ill patients will be allowed to receive assistance to end their lives. 

 

Among these conditions, it is stipulated that patients must request the procedure at least twice when they are at least 15 days apart, at least voluntarily and fully understood their medical diagnosis and prognosis.

 

Not only should patients be fully informed of the procedures involved in euthanasia, but patients should also be informed of other alternative end-of-life care options, including palliative care. The medical condition suffered must be serious, incurable, and cause continuous and "unbearable" mental or physical pain, or cause chronic and disabling pain that is physically and mentally independent. In addition, it must be determined that it is impossible to improve or cure the patient's condition. 


In cases involving patients who are completely incapacitated, including patients who are in coma or unconscious, a written document (such as a will) must be presented, which must be signed when the patient is in a healthy state and know its contents to clearly show Patient's medical history and his desire for euthanasia. 

The entire process must be supervised and certified by a senior doctor, and the senior doctor must accept the opinion of another consultant doctor, and the relevant reports and decisions will need to be approved by the evaluation and supervision committees of each state in Spain's 17 regions.

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