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The actuality and the historical background of covert Euthanasia in Albania

Abstract

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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