First euthanasia prosecution launched in the Netherlands


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So-called mercy killings have been authorized within the Netherlands since 2002 (inventory picture)

Dutch authorities are prosecuting a physician for performing euthanasia on a affected person within the first case of its type since its legalisation 16 years in the past.

The choice was taken after a regional euthanasia overview board discovered she had “overstepped the mark” in euthanising the 74-year-old Alzheimer’s affected person.

Prosecutors allege the affected person’s will was “unclear and contradictory” when it got here to her ultimate needs.

The physician, who has not been named, says she acted cautiously within the case.

Her spokesman instructed Dutch tv channel NOS that she welcomed “additional steerage on the query of the desires of incapacitated sufferers”, however “regrets” that she is being prosecuted over the April 2016 case.

Prosecutors stated on this explicit occasion, the girl “had usually acknowledged that she needed to die, [but] on different events she had stated that she didn’t need to die”, which meant that it was unclear whether or not she needed euthanasia to be carried out.

“The physician ought to have checked with the girl whether or not she nonetheless had a demise want by discussing this together with her,” the assertion stated, including that the case will handle “necessary authorized points relating to the termination of lifetime of dementia sufferers”.

In the meantime Hugo de Jonge, the Dutch well being minister, instructed NOS he didn’t suppose the case was a purpose to alter the regulation.

So-called mercy killings have been authorized within the Netherlands since 2002, adopted by neighbouring Belgium months later. The 2 had been the primary on the planet to legalise the follow, and all instances stay very strictly managed.

Final yr, virtually 7,000 individuals selected to die by euthanasia within the Netherlands – equating to greater than four% of all deaths. Twelve instances had been flagged for potential concern, with two below additional investigation.

Nevertheless, regardless of 1000’s taking the choice, this would be the first time prosecutors have taken a case past a prison investigation.


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