Dutch News

21 April 2014
Dutch life ending clinic not careful enough practising euthanasia

According to the regional Euthanasia checking commission the Dutch life ending clinic did not act careful enough practising euthanasia on a seriously depressed elderly  woman. The doctors should have taken much more time to discuss the plan with the patient, also without the children being present. Before complying with the euthanasia request, the doctor and team should also have asked for a judgement from a psychiatrist. The euthanasia was executed in September 2013.

Since 2012 the Dutch life ending clinic treats patients that wish to get euthanasia and that are not helped by their family doctor. It is the first time the euthanasia clinic accused of being careless in giving euthanasia. Euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands as long as some strict rules are obeyed. The patient should suffer unbearably, be able to give informed consent and the euthanasia request should be done several times. Also a second doctor should assess the case and the request.


The life ending clinic made the critics from the checking commission public and stated that  in the case of the seriously depressed elderly woman the situation had become very bad. She was between 80 and 90 years old, already had serious depressions for 30 years and they had become much worse over the last months of her life. Medication and electroshock therapy did not have any effect.


The woman had no pleasure in life anymore, she did not want to see her children and family anymore and she became frightened of everything. She felt very exhausted, did not leave the house anymore and suffered from heavy headaches, making her head feel like ‘concrete’. Because of fears she felt trapped in her house, only sat in touch couch, could not watch TV anymore and lost 26 kilo’s in three years.


The life ending clinic stated that they still back the decision the doctor and euthanasia team took. ‘This was not a doubtful case. There were no acceptable possibilities anymore  to relieve the suffering. We know that the family was extremely happy with how everything went. It is all about the question if one can come to a careful conclusion. This can be totally clear in a few  consultations.  We are convinced that we have acted in the interests of the patient, although this is also a learning moment for the organisation.







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