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Everything you need to know about the new law of Euthanasia

Everything you need to know about the new law of Euthanasia

The Organic Law that regulates euthanasia aims to legislate about the "good death" as it appears from the explanatory memorandum of the proposal. We could simplify its definition by defining it as "an act to end a person's life, by the express will of the person and in order to avoid unnecessary suffering."

The objective of this law is to provide a legal response to citizens, introducing a personal and individual right to a dignified death.

Structure and content of the Organic Law of euthanasia

According to the analysis of our specialist lawyers, the law is made up of 5 chapters and several additional, transitory, repealing and final provisions. Next we analyze the structure of it:

Chapter I. Purpose and scope

The purpose of said Organic Law is none other than to regulate the right of everyone to request and receive the necessary help to die. Being applicable to natural and legal persons who are in Spanish territory.

In art. 3 the definitions of the basic concepts of the text are regulated:

a) "Informed consent": the free, voluntary and conscious consent of the patient, manifested in full use of their powers after receiving the appropriate information, so that, at their request, one of the actions described in the paragraph may take place F).

b) «Serious, chronic and disabling disease»: situation that results from a person affected by limitations that directly affect their physical autonomy, as well as their capacity for expression and relationship, and that are associated with constant and intolerable physical or mental suffering , there being certainty or great probability that such limitations will persist over time without the possibility of cure or appreciable improvement.

c) «Serious and incurable disease»: any alteration of the state of health caused by an accident or illness, originating independently of the will of the patient, which is associated with constant and intolerable physical or mental suffering and in which there is a prognosis limited life, in a context of progressive fragility.

d) "Responsible Physician" or "Responsible Physician": a doctor or physician in charge of coordinating the information and healthcare of the patient, with the character of the main interlocutor of the same in everything related to their care and information during the healthcare process, and without prejudice to the obligations of other professionals who participate in healthcare activities.

e) "Consulting Physician" or "Consulting Physician": a doctor or physician with training in the field of pathologies suffered by the patient and who does not belong to the same team as the responsible doctor or physician.

f) "Health conscientious objection": the individual right of health professionals not to meet those demands for health action regulated in this law that are incompatible with their own convictions.

g) "Provision of aid to die": action derived from providing the necessary means to a person who meets the requirements set forth in this law and who has expressed his desire to die. This provision can be produced in two ways:

i) The direct administration to the patient of a substance by the competent healthcare professional.

ii) The prescription or supply to the patient by the competent health professional of a substance, so that it can self-administer it, either in the health center itself or at home, to cause their own death.

h) «Situation of incapacity in fact»: situation in which the patient lacks sufficient understanding and will to govern his life autonomously, without necessarily having a judicial resolution of incapacitation.

Chapter II. Right of people to request the provision of aid to die and requirements for their exercise.

This chapter establishes the bases for people to request their right to euthanasia, establishing the conditions to exercise the right.

According to our lawyers specialized in criminal law, any person of legal age and in full capacity to act and decide can request and receive such help, provided that they do so autonomously, consciously and informedly, and that they are in cases of serious illness. and incurable or serious, chronic and disabling disease causing intolerable physical or mental suffering.

Chapter III. Procedure for carrying out the assistance to die

This chapter regulates the procedure to follow in carrying out the provision of aid to die and the guarantees that must be applied in providing the procedure. It should be added the obligation of the existence of a control and evaluation commission to control the procedure according to the law.

It should be mentioned that in cases in which the healthcare professional appreciates a situation of disability and the patient is subject to permanent disability and a document with the previous explanations has been previously signed, the provision may become effective. of help to die with dignity.

Chapter IV. Guarantee of access to the provision of aid to die

The characteristics that guarantee every citizen the right to die are regulated, adding this service in the general services of the national health system.

Effects of death?

This death will be considered a natural death for all purposes.

Will the Penal Code be modified?

It will be necessary to modify section 4 of art. 143 of the Penal Code, going on to write as follows:

"4. The conduct of the doctor will not be punishable when, with necessary and direct acts, it causes or cooperates in the death of a person, when the person suffers a serious and incurable disease or a serious, chronic and disabling disease, in the terms established in the health regulations. »

When will it take effect?

As indicated in the Final Provision 4, it will enter into force once it is published in the BOE, after 3 months.

Contact us, and our lawyers specializing in criminal law will study your specific case. 

At Forcam Abogados we have offices in Barcelona, Tarragona, Reus and Tarrega.