Ethical Council: Danes should have right to reject resuscitation after cardiac arrest
Det Etiske Råd, the government’s ethical council, has today called on Danish politicians to change the current law so that Danes have a right to reject resuscitation after a cardiac arrest.
Gorm Greisen, the chairman of the council and chief doctor at Rigshospital, explains that “to die as a result of a cardiac arrest is an ‘easy death’ – a person faints and dies within a moment, while other ways to die can be lengthy and cumbersome”.
The right to refuse a revival should apply to all adults who are legally competent, says the ethical council.
Ununited about the ‘who’ and ‘where’
Today, only terminally-ill people can seek to refuse medical treatment in cases when their heart stops, while citizens have a duty to provide first aid assistance to the dying.
The majority of Det Etiske Råd’s 17 council members believe all legally-competent people should be able to renounce resuscitation after talking with a doctor about their case, but some say this should only apply to the sick or the old who have enjoyed a long life.
Det Etiske Råd also disagrees on where the proposal should apply: some suggest it should only be allowed in hospitals, nursing homes or people’s own homes, while others would like to see the changes applied everywhere, including the streets.