Das Recht zu sterben

Am 21. Dezember schaltete ein italienischer Arzt, Mario Riccio, das Beatmungsgerät aus, das Piergiorgio Welby am Leben hielt. Welby, der unter Muskeldystrophie litt und gelähmt war, hatte vor den italienischen Gerichten erfolglos für das Recht zu sterben gekämpft. Nachdem Riccio ihm ein Betäubungsmittel gegeben und das Beatmungsgerät ausgeschaltet hatte, sagte Welby dreimal “Danke”, zu seiner Frau, zu seinen Freunden und zu seinem Arzt. Fünfundvierzig Minuten später war er tot.

Welbys Wunsch zu sterben hat in Italien breite Aufmerksamkeit in der Öffentlichkeit erregt und für eine hitzige Debatte gesorgt. Während dieser Text verfasst wird, ist unklar, ob Riccio eine Straftat vorgeworfen werden wird. Mindestens ein italienischer Politiker hat seine Verhaftung wegen Mordes gefordert.

Welbys Tod wirft zwei Fragen auf, die voneinander unterschieden werden müssen. Eine ist, ob eine Person das Recht hat, lebenserhaltende medizinische Maßnahmen abzulehnen. Die andere ist, ob freiwillige Euthanasie ethisch vertretbar ist.

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