The following Declaration was made at the 12th International Conference of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies held in Zurich, Switzerland from 12 - 15 October 1998, and was originally published in Issue #33 of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies Newsletter.
THE ZURICH DECLARATION ON ASSISTED DYING
We are medical professionals attending the 12th International Conference of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies being held in Zurich from 12 to 15 October 1998.
We believe that we have a major responsibility for ensuring that it becomes legally possible for all competent adults, suffering severe and enduring distress, to receive medical help to die, if this is their persistent, voluntary and rational request. We note that such medical assistance is already permitted in The Netherlands, Switzerland and Oregon, USA.
We are familiar with the different scenarios which occur at the end of life. We know that if we should find ourselves in such situations, many of us have the knowledge to achieve self-deliverance,and we wish to extend this privilege to our patients. At this most critical time we must never abandon our patients. Excellent palliative care should not exclude the right to choose assisted dying.
In the past decade, an increasing number of doctors and nurses in different countries have stated, publicly and courageously, that they have actively helped their suffering patients to die, even when it was illegal. Now, we, as medical professionals, must state our support for assisted dying and our committment to such humane medical care.
Therefore, we support the right of competent, adult patients, who are suffering severely, to seek our assistance, if this should be their enduring request. We know that many medical professionals around the world share our views and we ask them to make similar declarations.
Signed by physicians and nurses attending the conference: