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End of life issues in the EU (specifically, Germany)

by Texmandie Sat Oct 1st, 2005 at 04:54:33 AM EST

Right now on DailyKos there's a diary by spitonmars, a neurology resident (a step right before being able to practice medicine independently in the US), about the every day tragedy of the typical death in an American hospital, with discussion on how to avoid this for oneself and one's loved ones.

I've been living in Germany for just under a year now, and expect to for several more. I'm only 25, so it is extremely unlikely that I'll die here. However, I do drive in Bavaria (Autobahns with crazed BMW and Audi drivers and two-lane state highways with poor visibility and crazed BMW and Audi drivers) and like to ski.

What steps do I need to take to ensure that should something horrible happen and I end up incapacitated, I won't be stuck on life support long after any chance for recovery has passed? I have no relatives over here, and workmates and German acquaintances I like and trust, but would feel uncomfortable potentially burdening with life-and-death decisions.

Does Germany have an equivalent of a "Living Will"? Would it be honored if, say, I had a skiing accident in Austria or didn't look the right way crossing the street in London?


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I have a living will in the US, and I am currently drawing one up here in Switzerland, through the local State office. You should inquire at your local state office, to start with. Very good idea to do this, though a much bigger deal in the US...but someone should know your wishes, so best to have it in writing.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Oct 1st, 2005 at 06:46:08 AM EST
Here is Switzerland there is also an organisation called EXIT, if you become a member you receive a card you can carry with you in case of an accident to make doctors aware of it. My mother had such a card and after her accident, which severely damaged her brain there was no discussion because of this card.

I am not sure but I think they are also in other European Countries. However, some people have problems with them, as they also explain to you how in case of terminal cancer or other sever damage you can end your life your self and without pain.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 1st, 2005 at 09:53:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, Germany does have an equivalent.
Google for "Patiententestament" or "Patientenverfuegung".

http://www.aerztezeitung.de/docs/2000/12/20/230a0706.asp?cat=/magazin/sterbebegleitung/patientenverf uegung

http://www.patiententestament.de/

http://www.ratgeberrecht.de/testament.html

Would it be honored in another country?
I don´t know. Probably depends on the laws in that country.
Probably yes in Austria.

http://www.hospiz.at/leitfaden/patientenverfuegung.htm

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Sat Oct 1st, 2005 at 10:36:28 AM EST
Thank you! That is exactly the info I needed.

I wonder if I'd be better off writing it out in English and having a bilingual attorney translate it, or if I should write it in my very mid-level German myself... probably the former would be safest.

by Texmandie on Sat Oct 1st, 2005 at 02:35:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bilingual would be safe...no worry about misunderstandings. Good luck...its a good thing to do, for everyone...because you never know...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Oct 1st, 2005 at 05:15:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What are the rules in England? Does it vary in Ireland? We might be moving there if my spouse's security clearance goes through.
by northsylvania on Mon Oct 3rd, 2005 at 06:15:25 PM EST


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