Dutch News 27 August 2014
A special clinic set up to help people whose doctors do not support euthanasia has been reprimanded for failings when it helped an elderly woman who did not want to live in a nursing home to die.
The euthanasia monitoring committee said the clinic’s experts had failed to exercise proper care when carrying out their duties. The public prosecution department is now investigating the case.
It is the second time in four months the clinic has been criticised. In April officials said a doctor had not talked enough to an elderly women with psychiatric problems whom it helped to die.
Since it was opened over two years ago, doctors at the clinic have carried out 250 euthanasia requests.
The latest case involves a woman in her 80s who had become partially paralysed since a stroke. Twenty years previously she had written a statement saying she did not want to live permanently in a nursing home. She reconfirmed that position with her doctor 18 months ago.
In order to qualify for euthanasia in the Netherlands, the patient must be ‘suffering unbearably’.
Although this was not the case, the clinic’s doctors decided to perform the euthanasia because this is what the woman wanted. An independent doctor did assess the woman as suffering unbearably, based on gestures and her repeated use of the words ‘kan niet’.
Euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands since 2002 under strict conditions and with the approval of two doctors.