Ethics in psychiatry: the lessons we learn from Nazi psychiatry.
von Cranach, Michael
European archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience 2010 Nov; 260 Suppl 2: S152-6
Under the Euthanasia Program of Nazi Germany, more than 200,000 psychiatric patients were killed by doctors in psychiatric institutions. After summarising the historical facts and the slow and still going-on process of illuminating and understanding what happened, some ethical consequences are drawn. What can we learn from history? The following aspects are addressed: the special situation of psychiatry in times of war, bioethics and biopolitics, the responsibility of the psychiatrist for the individual patient, the effects of hierarchy on personal conscience and responsibility, the unethical "curable-uncurable" distinction and the atrocious concept that persons differ in their value.
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