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Danish euthanasia group 'has helped ten patients to die'

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Danish euthanasia group 'has helped ten patients to die'
Svend Lings is the first point of contact for people wanting assisted suicide. Photo: Sonny Munk Carlsen/Scanpix
08:36 CET+01:00
Doctors in Denmark are risking prison by helping terminally ill patients die as they push for progress on euthanasia laws.
“We can not see why people should have to jump out in front of a train or shoot themselves,” Svend Lings, from Doctors for Active Euthanasia, told Radio24syv. “Why can't people be allowed to be put to sleep in a proper way?” 
 
Lings, who is retired and cannot write prescriptions for patients, is the organisation’s initial contact point, who then passes requests to the eight other doctors.
 
After studying the patient's record, they then decide whether to write prescriptions to help them die. The group has so far assisted in ten suicides, primarily by prescribing a combination of sleeping pills and medicine to prevent patient's vomiting.
 
Although the organisation primarily targets those who are terminally ill and suffering, on its website it also suggests carrying out assisted suicide might be justified in cases of “persistent, treatment-resistant and life-destructive depression” and “loneliness in the world with longing for death”. 
 
Lise Møller, chairman of the Danish Medical Association's ethics committee, told Radio24syv she was worried by the development. 
 
“I feel scared because it is my responsibility to make sure this isn’t something that can develop into more than ten people,” she said. 
 
After Lings’ broadcast, the local Fyn Police launched an investigation into the group, the broadcaster TV2 reported. 
 
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