SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

Anjel smrti

IT IS not often that both main tabloids in the country share the same opening headline. This week they did: “Anjel smrti”, the Angel of Death. Yes, Slovakia is on a streak. Within months of finding its first mass murderer and its first cannibal, there is the first angel of death. You have to wonder what’s next. A resurrection of Jack the Ripper?

Slovakia's law bans all forms of euthanasia or assisted suicide. Slovakia's law bans all forms of euthanasia or assisted suicide. (Source: Sme - Tomáš Benedikovič)

IT IS not often that both main tabloids in the country share the same opening headline. This week they did: “Anjel smrti”, the Angel of Death. Yes, Slovakia is on a streak. Within months of finding its first mass murderer and its first cannibal, there is the first angel of death. You have to wonder what’s next. A resurrection of Jack the Ripper?

The case of the male nurse who confessed to administering a lethal injection to a patient at a Bratislava intensive care unit is different from the two previous cases not only in that the perpetrator survived but also that his intent didn’t necessarily have to be malicious. It is far from clear whether we have here a copycat of the Czech “heparin killer”, who was found guilty of murdering seven people and attempting to kill at least ten more, and whose main motivation seemed to be a desire to play god. So far, the suspect claims he just wanted to ease the suffering of the patient. It remains unclear whether she was in a condition to ask him to help her die.

The uncertainty is to a great extent the result of improper legislation that bans all forms of euthanasia. Doctors privately admit that in extreme cases, medical staff help terminal patients die. But under current laws, they risk the same penalty as a murderer. This case illustrates why it would help to legalise a practice that is anyway a part of life. That way there would be no doubts about who is a killer and who is just trying to help others end their suffering. Because it seems that angels, too, sometimes have to take care of dark tasks.


Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Top stories

Railway station in Košice

Who’s the foreigner in this country now?

The virus has highlighted some differences between migrants and locals, but erased others.

23. jan
Košice

News digest: Slovakia has passed the peak of the second wave, health minister says

Polish doctors will help take swabs in Slovakia this weekend. People who have had COVID can just show their positive test result.

22. jan
Rapid testing in Košice

Nationwide COVID-19 testing – and criticism – starts again

Longer ‘screening’ different to October operation.

22. jan
Ján Sýkora is an easy-going ice-hockey player who has got a great sense of humour.

Fashion brands mean nothing to me. Professional hockey player about his life in central Slovakia

In an entertaining interview, the down-to-earth ice hockey player, Ján Sýkora, talks about being a busy bee with a poor memory.

21. jan