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The actuality and the historical background of covert Euthanasia in Albania
  1. Gëzim Boçari1,
  2. Elmaz Shaqiri2,
  3. Gentian Vyshka3
  1. 1Associated Professor of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Tirana
  2. 2Forensic Expert, Institute of Legal Medicine, Tirana
  3. 3Neurologist, Service of Neurology, UHC Mother Theresa, Tirana
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gentian Vyshka, Lagja 1 Rr. Kostaq Cipo Pall 2/19, Tirana-Albania; gvyshka{at}


Euthanasia is not legal in Albania, yet there is strong evidence that euthanising a terminally ill patient is not an unknown concept for the Albanians. The first mentioned case of euthanasia is found in 7th century AD mythology and during the communist regime (1944–1989), allegations of euthanising political prisoners and possible rivals in the struggle for power have widely been formulated. There is a trend among relatives and laymen taking care of terminally ill patients to apply tranquilisers in an abusive dosage, or even against medical advice, aiming at sedating the ailing patient. These actions, the refusal to keep on consistently applying life prolonging treatment, and other data, suggest that covert euthanasia is a practice and legal interventions are needed towards formalising it. This might well improve end-of-life care standards, since the inadequacy of structures, such as hospices and residential asylums, is becoming a major drawback in the struggle for dignity and accessible socio-medical help for third age persons and terminal patients.

  • Euthanasia
  • terminally ill patients
  • penal law
  • medical malpractice
  • right to refuse treatment
  • moral and religious aspects
  • attitudes towards death
  • care of the dying patient
  • prolongation of life and euthanasia

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study performed no human testing; questionnaires were approved by the Department of Biomedical and Experimental Sciences, Faculty of Medicine.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.