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First prosecution in the Netherlands

Thursday, November 29, 2018

For the first time in 15 years, a case of euthanasia in the Netherlands will be brought to the criminal court. This decision has been announced by the Dutch Public Prosecution Service on the 9th of November.  


The case concerned the termination of life of a patient with dementia. The euthanasia was based on the living will of the patient, but this living will contained contradictions regarding the moment the euthanasia should be performed. Because of the fact that the patient was demented and no longer capable to form and express her will, the physician refrained to ask the patient whether she still had a death wish. Before the euthanasia was performed, the physician gave a sleeping substance to the patient (in a cup of coffee, without the patient knowing this), in order to avoid fear or agitation. And during the performance, at some point the patient has been held fixed by the family in order to smooth the process. The review committees judged that when it comes to euthanasia, every form of coercion, also appearance of coercion, must be avoided. When the case will come for the court is not yet known.    

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