The Swiss Federal Court reversed the conviction of a Geneva doctor who assisted a healthy elderly woman in assisted suicide so that she would not outlive her terminally ill husband.
Initially convicted in 2019, Pierre Beck was sentenced to 120 days in prison for breaking federal law. He administered a lethal dose of pre-anesthetic pentobarbital and a strong sedative to intentionally help end the life of an 86-year-old woman. He was convicted under the Therapeutic Products Act (LPTh) and article 115 of the Swiss Criminal Code. This code states that assisted suicide based on “selfish motives” is punishable by imprisonment.
On appeal of the case, the Federal Court overturned the 2019 ruling finding the TPA invalid in this case because there is no medical indication for the prescription of pentobarbital, which is not being used for any purpose. treatments with healthy people, rendering APD invalid. It was a case that divided the presiding justices as the 3: 2 decision also found that pentobarbital was included in the Narcotic Control Act.
Switzerland is one of the rare countries to have legalized assisted suicide in the 1940s; it has long been known as a place people can go for euthanasia or assisted dying. The move comes after the recent invention of an assisted suicide chamber, known as the Sarco device, was introduced and authorized under Swiss federal law.