Sunday, November 11, 2018

Dutch doctor who euthanized woman with dementia without consent is being prosecuted.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Netherlands Public Prosecutor has decided to prosecute the doctor who lethally injected (euthanasia) an incompetent woman without effective consent. According to The Guardian news:

A doctor who secretly slipped a sedative into a 74-year-old woman’s coffee before administering a lethal drug as members of her family held her down is to be the first medic to be prosecuted for breaching Dutch euthanasia laws.
In January 2017, a Netherlands Regional Euthanasia Review Committee decided that the forced euthanasia on a woman with dementia, where the doctor sedated the woman by secretly putting the drugs in her coffee, and then asked the family to hold her down in order to lethally inject her, was done in "good faith."
Dutch doctor reprimanded for euthanasia without consent of woman with dementia.
So lets, examine the fact concerning this death by lethal injection: 
  • The woman had dementia and was incapable of asking for euthanasia, 
  • The declaration in her will was not clear, 
  • She stated several times that she did not want to die, 
  • She was not informed that a sedative was put in her coffee,
  • Her family was required to hold her down so the doctor could lethally inject her.
  • The Regional Review Committee found that the doctor contravened the law but that it was done in "good faith."
Jacob Kohnstamm, who was the chair of the Regional Euthanasia Review Committee wanted the case heard by the court to establish a precedent concerning cases when a doctor lethally injects a person with dementia. 

In a January 2017 article in the Mail online Kohnstamm stated that he was in favour of a trial: 
'Not to punish the doctor, who acted in good faith and did what she had to do, but to get judicial clarity over what powers a doctor has when it comes to the euthanasia of patients suffering from severe dementia.'
It is common for the Netherlands court to hear a case, not with the intention of punishing the person who broke the law but rather to establish a precedent to determine what the court considers acceptable or unacceptable, based on the application of the Netherlands euthanasia law.

This outcome of this case will likely effect Canadian euthanasia policies. The Canadian government is debating the extension of euthanasia to incompetent people who previously requested euthanasia while competent.

1 comment:

patm said...

How could a doctor act "in good faith" when the person said repeatedly that she didn't want to die. She Was not in a state where she did not know what was happening to her. the doctor and family who held her down are complicit inb her murder. There is no good faith here, only a desire to eliminate a problem.