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Palliative care and euthanasia: what is the view of the EAPC?
  1. Lars Johan Materstvedt
  1. Correspondence to Professor Lars Johan Materstvedt, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Faculty of Humanities, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway; lars.johan.materstvedt{at}ntnu.no

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The European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) is a large NGO that represents 46 national associations from 27 European countries and more than 50 000 healthcare workers and volunteers working within or interested in palliative care. Its area of influence includes 23 developing countries, primarily in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.1

One key issue facing all these people and countries—at the present time mostly in theory, but also in practice in places—is that of the relationship between palliative care and euthanasia.

In March 2003, an EAPC ethics taskforce, with me as Chair, published an article in which it, despite expressing understanding and tolerance of other views, univocally states that ‘the provision of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide should not be part of the responsibility of palliative care’.2 The stances of the article were endorsed by the EAPC's Board of Directors 3 months later, in June 2003.3

So, why ask what the view of the EAPC is? I have the following reasons for doing so.

For a start, there appears to be a fundamental disagreement on this issue even within the EAPC itself. The view held by the Belgian Federatie Palliatieve Zorg Vlaanderen vzw (FPZV; see http://www.palliatief.be), a collective member of the EAPC, directly contradicts that …

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