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Murdered man willing to die: BGH releases woman after insulin overdose

Status: 08/11/2022 14:05

According to the BGH, a woman who injected her seriously ill husband with a lethal dose of insulin at his request after taking pills was not punishable. Patient advocates sharply criticize the decision.

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) acquitted a woman who injected her bedridden husband with a fatal overdose of insulin at his request. The sixth criminal senate in Leipzig decided that the former nurse “was not punishable under any aspect”.

Because it was not she, but her husband, who had been ill for years, who controlled the events that led to the death, according to the decision published on June 28. The man initially took tablets on his own which were supposed to kill him – the insulin mainly served “to ensure death”. He was also conscious for a while and could have asked to call 911.

Claudia Kornmeier, ARD legal department, on the BGH ruling in the insulin overdose case

tagesschau24 16:00, 11.8.2022

The BGH therefore assessed the event as a “uniform life-ending act, the performance of which was solely determined by the man”. His wife injected him with insulin because it was difficult for him due to his disease-related disabilities. She did not kill her husband by doing anything. Rather, it is a case of unpunished assisted suicide, because “the person who was willing to die had the freedom to decide his or her fate until the end”. The BGH also referred to the jurisprudence of the Federal Constitutional Court on suicide.

Previous suspended sentence revoked

In November 2020, the Stendal District Court sentenced the woman to one year in prison on probation for murder on demand. Her husband put his life in her hands. However, the BGH said it “does not do justice to the special features of the case”.

For years the man suffered from various illnesses and great pains and often expressed the wish to die. On the day of his death, he first took all the medicine available in the house and then asked his wife to inject him with all the insulin she had, which she did. He died of low blood sugar due to the high dose of insulin.

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The tablets taken would probably also kill him, but only at a later time, the BGH explained. It was “ultimately due to chance that the insulin caused his death, whereas the drugs would only have developed their lethal effect at a later time”. At the woman’s request, her husband documented his attitude in writing.

criticism from patient advocates

The German Foundation for Patient Protection criticized the decision of the Federal Court of Justice. “So the dam for active euthanasia has broken,” said council member Eugen Brysch. “Surprisingly, the Federal Court of Justice has accepted that a person capable of consent and action will not be able to implement their will themselves.” It is a validation of someone else’s murder.

“With its decision, the Federal Court of Justice has de facto lifted the criminal ban on murder on request,” said Brysch. The Bundestag must “clarify the ban on euthanasia with full selectivity”. Brysch expressed the fear that social pressure on the elderly, those in need of care, the seriously ill and people with disabilities could increase.

Help with suicidal thoughts

If you are having suicidal thoughts, please seek help immediately. With the anonymous telephone counseling service, you will have contacts throughout the day.

Telephone numbers of the telephone counseling service: 0800/111 0 111 and 0800/111 0 222 www.telefonseelsorge.de

Telephone advice for children and young people: 116 111 – www.nummergegenkummer.de

(Az. 6 StR 68/21)

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