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Euthanasia in Greece, Hippocrates' birthplace

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Euthanasia is a controversial issue that has attracted heated debate over the last two decades. Cultural, traditional and religious considerations contribute in the forming of individual and social attitudes. Active, voluntary euthanasia is not legally accepted except in Netherlands and Australia. However even in these countries several ethical and legal issues have emerged from the application of euthanasia. In fact medical physicians stand in the frontline of the debate as they are those who should decide to act or not to act when euthanasia is requested by a patient. In Greece the vast majority of people are against euthanasia as a result of tradition and religion The influence of the Hippocratic philosophy and the humanistic teaching of the Christian Orthodox Church have made that doctors and people look at the issue of euthanasia with aversion. In addition, the law considers any such action as homicide and therefore as punishable.

However, in Greece as in any democratic country, individual variations exist and the issue attracts increasing debate. This article aims to discuss the legal ramifications of euthanasia within the context of the Greek legal order and to present the religious and ethical considerations that influence the social attitude concerning to euthanasia in Greece.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Forensic Sciences, University of Crete Medical School, Heraklion, Crete, Greece


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