Ethical Council: Danes should have right to reject resuscitation after cardiac arrest

New rules should apply to every legally competent adult and location – not just hospitals and nursing homes

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.

READ MORE: Ethical Council: Danish single men should not have right to surrogate mother

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.





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