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Dutch top court waffles in Sutorious case

Thursday, August 20, 1970

Regarding the last ‘famous’ Dutch case (Brongersma/Sutorius), on December 24, 2002, the Netherlands Supreme Court confirmed the verdict by the Court of Appeal Amsterdam, that declared GP Sutorius guilty of assisting in the suicide of former senator Brongersma, but did not give him a sentence. The court ruled that “the GP acted conscientiously and carefully”, but he should not have helped, because the senator was “not ill” (the courts: there was no medical classification of his condition). Further appeal is not possible.

Public reaction was dominated by disbelief in the Supreme Court, which did not dare to make a revolutionary verdict (where they did in 1984 and 1994 with Schoonheim and Chabot). NVVE and KNMG fear that doctors will be more afraid of reporting their cases because of this; NVVE expects that more doctors will hesitate to answer the requests of their patients for euthanasia.

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