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Spanish regulation of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide
  1. Tamara Raquel Velasco Sanz1,2,
  2. Pilar Pinto Pastor3,
  3. Beatriz Moreno-Milán2,4,
  4. Lydia Frances Mower Hanlon1,2,
  5. Benjamin Herreros2,5
  1. 1Departamento Enfermería, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  2. 2Instituto de Ética Clínica Francisco Vallés, Universidad Europea, Madrid, Spain
  3. 3Medicina Legal, psiquiatría y patología, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  4. 4Departamento de Psicología Clínica. Facultad de Psicología, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  5. 5Unidad de Medicina Interna, Hospital Universitario Fundacion Alcorcon, Alcorcón, Madrid, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Pilar Pinto Pastor, Medicina Legal, psiquiatría y patología, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Madrid, Spain; pilarpinto{at}ucm.es

Abstract

In March 2021, the Spanish Congress approved the law regulating euthanasia, that regulates both euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS). In this article, we analyse the Spanish law regulating euthanasia and PAS, comparing it with the rest of the European laws on euthanasia and PAS (Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg). Identified strengths of the Spanish law, with respect to other norms, are that it is a law with many safeguards, which broadly recognises professionals’ right to conscientious objection and the specification that it makes on the prior comprehensive care of the patient, including the approach to care dependency. Regarding its shortcomings, the law does not differentiate well between euthanasia and PAS; it barely assigns a role to the healthcare team as a whole (similar to other regulations); it does not clarify the functions of the different professionals involved; it does not detail the specific composition and duration of theevaluation commission; it has not been accompanied by a prior or simultaneous regulation of palliative care; and, lastly, the period of time to implement the law is too short.

  • euthanasia
  • palliative care
  • end-of-life

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Footnotes

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  • Contributors TRVS: made substantial contributions to conception of the article, involved in drafting the manuscript and revising it critically for important intellectual content, gave a final approval of the version to be published. PPP: involved in drafting the manuscript and revising it critically for important intellectual content, gave final approval of the version to be published. BM-M: made substantial contributions to conception of the article, gave final approval of the version to be published. LFMH: made substantial contributions to conception of the article, involved in drafting the manuscript. BH: made substantial contributions to conception of the article, involved in drafting the manuscript and revising it critically for important intellectual content, gave final approval of the version to be published.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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

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