In April, his book on active euthanasia “Euthanasia and the Ethics of a Doctor’s Decisions. An Argument Against Assisted Dying” was published in the UK and US.
Ole Hartling, who turns 75 on 26 June, is a doctor and has worked as a chief physician at Vejle Hospital and as an adjunct professor of health promotion at Roskilde University.
But it is as chairman of the Council of Ethics that most people probably remember him.
During his presidency from 2003 to 2007, the council played an important role, including in the debate on active euthanasia, or euthanasia, as Ole Hartling prefers to call it.
The combination of the medical profession and the role as a debater is obvious to explain with growing up in the home north of Copenhagen.
His mother, Elsebeth Kirkemann, was a doctor, and his father was the left-winger Poul Hartling, who later became prime minister and UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Ole Hartling chose to study medicine at the University of Copenhagen, where he graduated in 1972. Since then, he has become a specialist in clinical physiology and nuclear medicine as well as dr.med. in 1986.
In addition to the Council of Ethics, he has held a number of positions of trust, including as chairman of the Department of Human Rights from 2011 to 2015.
It should also be mentioned that Ole Hartling has been a member of the Danish Medical Association’s Ethics Committee and of Amnesty International’s Danish medical group.
When he makes us others wiser on some of life’s difficult questions, he is not only drawing on his professional experience.
He himself has suffered great losses. His first wife, Lene, died in 2008 after 40 years of marriage, and since then his wife Katrine died in 2012 after only three years of marriage.
Katrine suffered from an incurable disease, and in her despair over constant pain, she considered taking her own life. But Ole Hartling wanted to keep her as long as possible, and he thinks that gave her strength.
When he could not do without her, she had to continue.
– The desperate person does not need to be met with a rational understanding that now is the best time to get off. This is because that understanding at the same time contains an element that the fellow human being can do without, Ole Hartling writes in an email to Ritzau.
Today he forms a couple with midwife Marianne Weincke Axelsen.
They live in Christianshavn and have a holiday home on Omø in the Great Belt.
Ole Hartling is the father of four grown children.
Source: The Nordic Page