Monday, March 12, 2018

Public prosecutor investigates euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


The DutchNL news reported that the regional euthanasia review committee's annual report was released indicating that the number of assisted deaths increased by another 8% to 6585 assisted deaths were reported in 2017.
The DutchNL news, indicated that the number of assisted deaths for dementia or psychiatric reasons also increased in 2017, with 169 people dying by euthanasia for dementia (3 were advanced dementia) and 83 people dying by euthanasia for psychiatric reasons.

The report also indicated that there were 4 deaths being investigated by the public prosecution service. The Guardian news reported the following:

The four cases being investigated have been referred to the prosecutor’s office by regional euthanasia committees, which monitor the system and alleged they had found problems. The cases were then found to warrant criminal investigation. 
Two deaths being examined by the prosecutor in Noord-Holland province involve a doctor employed by Levenseindekliniek, an end of life clinic. 
It is claimed that a 67-year-old woman, who lacked the capacity to express her own will because of Alzheimer’s, was euthanised in May last year despite the physician being unable to ascertain whether the request for death was voluntary and deliberate. 
In a second case, an 84-year-old woman was euthanised last June after claiming her life was “hopeless” because of several physical illnesses. It has been suggested that this was not sufficiently proven to be case.

The public prosecutor in Oost-Nederland is also investigating the euthanasia of a 72-year-old woman last April who had metastasised cancer but lapsed into a coma, leaving the physician unable to ascertain that the decision for euthanasia was voluntary and well-considered, the review committee said. 
In the fourth case, which is being investigated in The Hague, a euthanasia request from an 84-year-old woman was granted in February last year after the patient complained that her freedom of movement had been “very much restricted” by pulmonary emphysema. It has been claimed the physician concluded too easily that the suffering of the patient was hopeless.
The DutchNL article indicated that 12 of the euthanasia deaths were questionable:
Twelve cases were labeled by the monitoring committee as not being carefully carried out – these were mainly problems with medical care or not having an independent second opinion.
The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) (August 3, 2017) published a Netherlands study titled:End-of-Life Decisions in the Netherlands over 25 years.

Netherlands euthanasia study uncovers abuse of the law. The study indicates that in 2015 there were 7254 assisted deaths (6672 euthanasia deaths, 150 assisted suicide deaths, 431 terminations of life without request) in the Netherlands.



A woman in the Netherlands was interviewed for the upcoming Fatal Flaws Film explaining how her mother died by euthanasia without request.

The Netherlands euthanasia law uses a voluntary self-reporting system, meaning the doctor who lethally injects the patient also submits the report. Since doctors do not self-report abuse of the law, therefore the law enables doctors to cover-up "abuse" of the law. The 431 terminations of life without request are usually not reported.

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