Ending Lifesaving Measures - Action or Omission?

5 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2008 Last revised: 4 Nov 2008

See all articles by Stefan Kirchner

Stefan Kirchner

University of Lapland, Arctic Centre

Date Written: October 13, 2008


Modern medicine has made it possible to prolong life with the help of intensive care technology. At some point, maybe because the machine in question is needed for an other patient, maybe because the medical staff is pressured by relatives who cannot deal with the situation. Under German law, turning off the machine in question will amount to manslaughter (p. 212 Strafgesetzbuch), possibly murder (p. 211 Strafgesetzbuch), possibly killing on request (p. 216 Strafgesetzbuch). In any case, the question remains whether turning off a machine to end lifesaving measures remains to an action or an omission.

Keywords: law, criminal, criminal law, medicine, intensive care, life, death

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Kirchner, Stefan, Ending Lifesaving Measures - Action or Omission? (October 13, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1283584 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1283584

Stefan Kirchner (Contact Author)

University of Lapland, Arctic Centre ( email )

P.O. Box 122
Rovaniemi, Lapland 96101
+358404844001 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ulapland.fi

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