FRANCE: Dr. Christian Barnaard, pioneer of life-saving heart transplant surgery, said on September 21 that he supported euthanasia. He stated that it was a physician’s responsibility to give terminally ill patients “a good death.” He spoke at an international conference organized by the Association for the Right to Die in Dignity. Bernard denied that this was a contradiction with his life’s work, according to a UPI report in the Ottawa Citizen (Sept. 22, 1984). His patients “wanted to live” and, secondly, “the [heart] transplants were not aimed at prolonging their lives but improving them.”
During the same week five doctors publicly declared they had practiced euthanasia, that is “helping patients in a terminal stage of illness to end their lives in the least painful way possible.” Some of them admitted only to withdrawing life-support systems. The others said they had taken active measures, including the administration of fatal drugs.
In Rome, the Vatican City newspaper L’Observatore Romano denounced the manifesto of the five doctors as encouraging “a crime against the life of a human being.”