By Terry Vanderheyden
ZURICH, November 21, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A doctor acting for the Swiss euthanasia group, Dignitas, has committed suicide after learning that a German woman he euthanized was not terminally ill. Dignitas is under investigation after news of the woman’s death.
The 69-year-old woman contacted Dignitas with a medical report stating she had terminal liver cirrhosis; an autopsy conducted later in Germany revealed the woman was in good health other than depression, and that the medical report was falsified. The woman, whose name was withheld, allegedly convinced her German GP to falsify the report so that she could get sick leave from work.
Her doctor in Augsburg said he was unaware that the woman was going to use his false report to persuade Dignitas to euthanize her. Augsburg’s senior public prosecutor, Hans-Juergen Kolb, said an investigation against the GP and the dead Swiss doctor had been initiated.
“We are co-operating with the Swiss authorities,” said Kolb, according to the UK’s Times on Line. “Post mortem reports have already shown that she was not suffering from irreversible liver damage, and if we find that her mental health was in doubt the charges could be more serious.”
Dignitas’ founder, Ludwig Minelli, defended the clinic: “The doctor’s report that I was given indicated the woman was suffering from cirrhosis of the liver as well as hepatitis. And in any case every person in Europe has the right to choose to die, even if they are not terminally ill.”
Responsible for the killing of 453 people since its launch by Minelli in Zurich in 1998, the assisted-suicide group expanded into Germany with an office in Hanover last month, in the hopes of advancing the euthanasia cause in that country.
Regional justice minister for Lower Saxony, Elisabeth Heister-Neumann, charged Minelli with being financially motivated. “Making poisonous cocktails available has deviated into pure business, and medical reports are being misused as an excuse,” she emphasized.
Minelli told the UK’s Telegraph last year that Dignitas would gladly assist anyone to die, “irrespective of medical condition. It does not matter what people are suffering from, we do not refuse anyone.”
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Swiss Lure Suicide Victims: Euthanasia Administered Within 24 Hours
Swiss Euthanasia-Providing Group Branches Out to Germany