• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Swiss hospital responds to right-to-die patients
Photo: Valais Hospital

Swiss hospital responds to right-to-die patients

The Local · 3 Mar 2016, 13:10

Published: 03 Mar 2016 13:10 GMT+01:00

Assisted dying is legal in Switzerland, though usually takes place in dedicated facilities such as Dignitas.

But the Sion branch of Valais Hospital has issued a directive to its medical staff allowing them to “give an appropriate response to the patient on this delicate matter”, its director Eric Bonvin said in a statement.

The move means a patient wishing to die can request help from Exit or another assisted dying organization within hospital walls “in exceptional situations,” meaning the person is no longer in a physical state to be moved from hospital and there is no other way of respecting “patient autonomy”.

Such cases will be submitted to a newly established ethics committee which will assess the circumstances and support the patient in their decision.

He stressed that no medical staff would take part in the assisted suicide.

“The principal duty of the hospital remains to care for people. Assisted suicide is not considered an act of care and as such is not recognized as the work of public hospital,” he added.

Bonvin told news agency ATS that only one or two people a year requested help to die at the hospital.

Story continues below…

However the number of assisted deaths in Switzerland as a whole has leapt recently, according to figures released earlier this week.

Over 780 people chose to end their lives with the help of Exit in 2015, nearly 200 more than the previous year, it said.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Opinion
Brexit voters ‘misinformed’ on Swiss relations with EU
The Swiss president meets with EU leaders on the first Gotthard train. Photo: Ruben Sprich/AFP

Leave campaigners calling for Britain to be like Switzerland did not truly understand Switzerland’s relationship with the EU, one commentator tells The Local.

France demands Swiss bank UBS face fraud trial
File photo: Martin Abegglen

The bank is accused of orchestrating a vast system of tax fraud in France.

Wimbledon
Federer wins uninspired Wimbledon opener
File photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Roger Federer was well short of his best as he advanced to the second round.

Nestlé’s birthday bash ruffles festival feathers
Lausanne's Festival de la Cité has not received the same special dispensation as Nestle, despite asking. Photo: Régis Colombo/Lausanne tourism

Is Nestlé getting special treatment from local authorities?

Germans avoid plunge off Swiss mountain pass
Photo: Graubunden cantonal police

Two holidaymakers had a lucky escape when their brakes failed coming down a mountain pass.

Brexit
Swiss-EU talks ‘must’ resume this summer
Scheider-Ammann will seek talks with European Commission President Juncker. File photo: Emmanuel Dunand

Switzerland will insist it is heard in Brussels and not cast aside by last week’s Brexit vote, the Swiss president has said.

Euro 2016
Unlucky Swiss crash out of Euros on penalties
The Swiss hit the bar and forced the Polish goalkeeper into numerous saves as the match wore on but just couldn't convert a chance. Photo: AFP

Poland beat Switzerland 5-4 in a penalty shootout in the first Euro 2016 last 16 clash on Saturday with new Arsenal star Granit Xhaka missing a crucial kick for the Swiss.

Swiss-based IT worker at Panama Papers firm released
The identity of the man who worked at the Geneva offices of Mossack Fonseca has been withheld. Photo: AFP

A Swiss-based IT worker arrested earlier this month on suspicion of stealing documents from the law firm at the centre of the Panama Papers scandal was released from custody on Friday, his lawyer said.

Six authors who found inspiration in Switzerland
Chillon as it was in Byron's time. Photo: www.mymontreux.ch

It's 200 years since English poet Lord Byron visited Lake Geneva, putting it firmly on the literary map. But he's not the only one to have found inspiration in the country's hills and glaciers...

Brexit vote will hit Swiss economy: president
Schneider-Ammann has warned the Swiss economy could suffer. Photo: AFP

President Johann Schneider-Ammann has warned that Brexit will have a negative impact on the Swiss economy.

Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
File photo: Kochtopf
National
Anger as Swiss council plans non-pork school lunches
File photo: Jen/Flickr
Society
Geneva to get 'café fellatio' by end of year
Features
How Switzerland's scenery inspired some of the world's greatest authors
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
National
A guaranteed basic income: why did the Swiss say no?
Photo: Andreas Gerth/Swiss-Image.ch
Features
Switzerland’s breathtaking Unesco World Heritage sites
Photo: Nestle
Culture
Nestlé celebrates 150 years with museum openings
Photo: Jan Geerk/Swiss-image.ch
National
Report: Swiss are officially ‘good’ for the planet
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
National
World agog at bizarre Gotthard Base Tunnel opening
Photo: Coop
Swiss supermarkets look to scrap free plastic bags
Photo: IMD
Business & Money
Report: Swiss economy more competitive than US
Photo: Aargau police
National
Murderer escapes from Swiss psych hospital
Photo: Grande-Dixence SA/essencedesign.com
Features
8 fantastic reasons to visit French-speaking Switzerland
Photo: Terroir Fribourg
Lifestyle
Swiss village to make world’s biggest meringue
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Features
10 unspoken rules for fitting in with the Swiss
Photo: Alp Transit Gotthard
National
Gotthard base tunnel: what you need to know
Photo: Caroline Bishop
Sport
Swiss cantons team up to vie for winter Olympic games
Photo: Broad Bean Media
National
Basel: Muslim schoolboys must shake hands or face fine
Photo: Emmanual Dunand/AFP
Sport
Brother of Belgian bomber wins gold in Switzerland
Photo: Gstaad Tourism
National
Snow puts end to hottest weekend of year so far
File photo: Abhishek Jacob
Lifestyle
Swiss court vetoes wedding of couple with 50-year age gap
Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
Culture
Dog day afternoon: Swiss saint meets Pope in Rome
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Business & Money
Pink diamond sold for record-breaking $31m in Geneva
File photo: Candida Performa
Lifestyle
Revealed: living in Switzerland could prolong your life
4,573
jobs available