Last Thursday the trial began in Germany of Dr. Mechthild Bach, accused of killing eight terminally-ill patients with overdoses of morphine between 2001 and 2003 in a clinic in Langenhagen in Hanover.
According to prosecutors, Dr. Bach intentionally caused the death of the patients whose ages were between 52 and 96. Despite claims by the lawyers of the 58 year-old doctor that “in everything she did or did not do she was firmly convinced that her actions were given consent by the patients,” active euthanasia remains illegal in Germany and is punishable by law.
The widow of one of the victims said in a letter that her husband was very ill and in much pain, and she asked the doctor to do everything in her power to keep him from suffering. However, these testimonies and other similar ones were deemed inadmissible by the court.
Although Dr. Bach claims she only accompanied terminally-ill patients in the past, the trial will also attempt to define the complicated issues of “accompaniment of terminally-ill patients” and “manipulation of death,” as well as to highlight the differences between passive and active euthanasia.