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Review article: Biomedical intelligence

Vol. 148 No. 1920 (2018)

Directing citizens to create advance directives

  • Sophie Haesen
  • David Shaw
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2018;148:w14628


This article describes the Swiss law on advance directives that was passed at the beginning of 2013 and led to more certainty about the legally binding character of such directives. However, for various reasons the drafting of advance directives is not yet widespread in Switzerland, and many resources might be put to better use if this became a common practice. A recent proposal by members of a political party to make the discussion, although not the actual drafting, of advance directives mandatory was rejected by the Swiss Federal Parliament, and the proposal was written off after having been pending for 2 years. We consider that the rejection of this proposal was not justified and that discussion of advance directives should become mandatory, so that individuals can fully assume their role as responsible citizens taking proactive decisions. The decision not to draft advance directives should be a deliberate one, marking a shift from the current “opt-in” approach to an “opt-out” scenario.


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