Euthanasia

Palinurus

The Living Force
Update on posts #112 and #109 (the Albert Heringa re-trial).

Source: Supreme court upholds sentence for man who helped mother, 99, to die - DutchNews.nl

Supreme court upholds sentence for man who helped mother, 99, to die

April 16, 2019

An elderly man who helped his 99-year-old mother to die 10 years ago has had his six month suspended jail sentence upheld by the Supreme Court, ending a lengthy legal process.

Albert Heringa (75) was earlier cleared on all charges but the Supreme Court said in March 2017 there should be a retrial because euthanasia carried out by someone other than a doctor must be subject to ‘very strict rules’.

In the subsequent trial, Heringa was sentenced to a six month suspended jail term, which he appealed. That conviction has now been confirmed.

Heringa’s lawyer Tim Vis told website Nu.nl [Dutch only] that he was disappointed with the ruling. ‘We will consider the verdict carefully and may look at approaching the European court for human rights in Strasburg,’ he said.

Lethal dose

Heringa decided to help his mother die when doctors refused her request to administer a lethal dose of medication.

He filmed his mother, who was almost blind and suffering from crippling back pains, as he helped her take the pills that would kill her. She had been secretly storing up the pills for some time.

The footage featured in a documentary called De laatste wens van Moek (Mum’s final wish) which was broadcast in 2010.
 

Palinurus

The Living Force
Source: Global media misreports Dutch teen author’s death as “legal euthanasia”

Global media misreports Dutch teen author’s death as “legal euthanasia”

By Janene Pieters on June 5, 2019 - 15:25


Noa Posthoven with her autobiography Winnen of Leren. [Winning or Learning] (Photo: Noa Potshoven via Winnen of Leren/Instagram)


A number of international news outlets reported the death of Dutch teen author Noa Pothoven as "legal euthanasia", though this apparently was not the case. The teenager died in a hospital bed in the living room of her parental home in Arnhem on Sunday, according to newspaper AD. In a final Instagram post the day before her death, she reported that she had stopped eating or drinking some days ago.

She reportedly slipped into a coma and passed away at her home. "After years of fighting it is over", she wrote on the social media platform. "After many conversations and assessments it was decided that I will be released because my suffering is unbearable. It's over. I've not been really living for so long, I survive, and not even really that. I breathe but no longer live."

In the Netherlands, it is lawful for a patient to issue an advance directive about treatment to their doctor, according to information provided by the Dutch government. The directive can include a “do not resuscitate” order, and it can also be extremely specific about what treatments the patient does not want to receive. This can specify whether or not a patient receives nutrition and hydration intravenously, according to health care workers’ association KNMG [Royal Dutch Medical Society].

It can even dictate instructions to physicians should the patient willfully choose not to eat, and where the patient prefers their life to come to an end. This directive is considered standard medical practice in the Netherlands, and it is not governed by the country's law legalizing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in specific cases.

The story alleging that euthanasia was the cause of Pothoven's death appeared Tuesday on the websites of broadcaster Euronews and British newspaper the Daily Mail, and was later re-written by media outlets globally and in multiple languages. Some issued corrections to the story, including the Washington Post and Euronews, or retracted their work outright. Others, including the Daily Mail, the Daily Sun, New York Post, and Washington Examiner, were still reporting late Wednesday afternoon that the 17-year-old girl from Arnhem died as the result of euthanasia as specified by Dutch law.

In the hours since the articles were published, several comments were posted to social media platforms accusing her, her parents, and her medical care providers of wrongdoing.

http://instagr.am/p/Bke4XmilKsA/
The Arnhem teenager struggled with post traumatic stress disorder, depression and anorexia after she was repeatedly sexually assaulted as a child, beginning when she was just 11 years of age. In her award wining autobiography, titled Winnen of Leren [Winning or Learning], Noa describes a life of sexual violence, self harm, suicide attempts, and forced treatment in clinic after clinic. In December last year, Noa told De Gelderlander that she approached the End Of Life clinic in The Hague - without her family knowing about it - to find out if she was eligible for euthanasia.

Her request was rejected, she told the newspaper.

"They think I am too young to die. They think I should complete the trauma treatment and that my brain must first be fully developed", the then 16-year-old girl said to the newspaper. "That is when you are 21. I'm devastated, because I can't wait that long anymore."

According to the Dutch government, “euthanasia” is defined as a doctor administering a fatal dose of a medication to a patient to put an end to unbearable and hopeless suffering. “Physician-assisted suicide” is defined as the doctor providing the fatal dose of a medication, and the patient takes the medication without help and of their own free will. Because physician-assisted suicide means that the patient is provided with a fatal dose of medication, it is not considered physician-assisted suicide when a medical team does not provide treatment to comply with a patient's right to refuse treatment.

There are no rules about what medical conditions may lead to euthanasia, but there are guidelines that doctors must follow before it is allowed. According to the Dutch law governing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, a doctor must determine if a patient meets six specific requirements before granting their request. Aside from being voluntary and well-reasoned, the patient must be enduring unending, unbearable suffering. The patient must also be aware of all potential treatment options, and the physician and patient must both agree that there is no reasonable alternative that can better serve the patient. Upon meeting that criteria, the leading care provider must consult at least one other independent physician about the case.

Once granted, euthanasia or assisted suicide must be conducted with medical precision that follows a separate set of guidelines. Other strict requirements are set out for patients between 12 and 16 years of age. Neither euthanasia nor assisted suicide is allowable under Dutch law when the patient is younger than 12.

Every case where end of life takes place by euthanasia or assisted suicide is reviewed by regional committees including a doctor, medical ethicist, lawyer, and a chairman to lead proceedings. Reviews of each case are provided within six weeks, and if a case is suspect it is then referred to a regional health inspectorate and the public prosecutor’s office.

Those in the Netherlands who are suffering from depression or contemplating suicide may call counselors at Sensoor, 0900-0767 (5 ct./min.), chat with them online, or call their volunteers at a local number. 113 Zelfmoordpreventie is also available 24/7 at number 0900-0133. A list of suicide crisis hotlines outside the Netherlands is available on Wikipedia.

Similar coverage here:
Award-winning teen writer Noa Pothoven chooses to die due to 'unbearable suffering' - DutchNews.nl - Live
 

Palinurus

The Living Force
Thanks for updating the story via this comment:

Comment: As it turns out, Western media had this story wrong. Ms. Pothoven did not in fact get euthanized by a doctor. Earlier today, Politico Europe's Naomi O'Leary tweeted a thread debunking the reports.

She clarified what actually happened:
"Noa Pothoven had been severely ill with anorexia and other conditions for some time. Without telling her parents, she sought and was refused euthanasia... The family had tried many kinds of psychiatric treatment and Noa Pothoven was repeatedly hospitalised... a hospital bed was set up at home in the care of her parents. At the start of June she began refusing all fluids and food, and her parents and doctors agreed not to force feed her. A decision to move to palliative care and not to force feed at the request of the patient is not euthanasia."
Laura said:
I would like to know who it was abusing her and why her family didn't protect her?
The abuse was threefold a far as I have been able to ascertain. The first time was at age 11 during a party with close friends. The second time was again at another party with friends when she was 12. The third time was a rape by unknown people (two adults) somewhere on a street when she was 14. All three were isolated incidents.

Her family didn't know about the abuses because the victim never told anyone anything about them out of fear, shame and guilt feelings. Only much later her mother became aware of it after accidentally finding a plastic sheet/envelope with written statements about these happenings which the victim never showed to anyone but were lateron used in her autobiography Winning or Learning.
 

Oxajil

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
I would like to know who it was abusing her and why her family didn't protect her?
She was sexually assaulted by a man at a school party when she was 11 years old. One year later, she was assaulted again by someone. When she was 14, she was raped in a district by two men. Her parents found out years later, around mid 2016 if I'm correct, after finding farewell letters written by her. Her parents were against her wish to die, and tried to get her the help she wanted.

But there was no clinic that would focus on all her problems, physical and psychological. In one treatment for example, the focus was on preventing her from starving herself to death (using a feeding tube) or suicide, while her problems such as anorexia for example were ignored/not treated. There were also long waiting lists for treatment centers.

She said: "It is always about symptom control. Hospitalisation after hospitalisation. If a certain behavioral problem or illness comes up that they cannot treat, you must leave again. To another clinic."

One time, she was put in solitary confinement, making her wear a dress that she couldn't tear, to prevent her from hurting herself. It was a traumatic experience for her (understandably so!). She did ask for euthanasia at some point, but that was refused because of her age. I think she was also a vegetarian, and I wonder if that made things worse, too. Ultimately, the care provided here isn't optimal, to say the least.

Her mother said: "We, her parents, want her to choose life. Noa actually doesn't want to die. She wants peace." To which Noa responded "Yes. I want peace. Not feel any pain."

It's very sad. If only they searched for a clinic that can treat the source(s) of the problems, at least elsewhere.
 

Mariama

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
It's very sad. If only they searched for a clinic that can treat the source(s) of the problems, at least elsewhere.
My thoughts exactly. Because at the end of the day what does an adolescent truly know about suffering? In their view it may seem endless and hopeless. Was she told that there is light at the end of the tunnel? That people do get on with their lives even if they suffered hardships?

I have done a bit of research into euthanasia these past few years and what concerns me greatly is the fact that this news item along with others can give the impression that if everything becomes too unbearable people can just opt for euthanasia. I watched videos of women with tinnitus, dementia and a lack of love of life who had their lives ended this way. It is the opposite of what Jordan Peterson is teaching us: even if a life is predicated on suffering it is worth it, or maybe it is worth even more. Besides, it is a very materialistic, anti-Universe/God world-view and ignores the spark of Divinity (as JP calls it) that is to be found in most of us. As we have that spark our lives are not our own and we are responsible for the people around us whom we leave behind in a terrible mess (paraphrasing JP here).

It is not hard to see in which direction the Netherlands are going, OSIT. The other day I read an article about an alcoholic who had opted for euthanasia.
 
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loreta

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Very sad! If my kid refused to eat and her life will be in danger I will force her, no matter what, to eat.

The danger also is the "copy cats" that will follow. Young people are very followers of that type of situation.
 

Palinurus

The Living Force
Two updates on the Noa Pothoven case, both of which concern themselves with the reasons for the wide international reverberations surrounding it.

The first one is from the regional newspaper De Gelderlander. Obviously, active links refer to sources in Dutch only.

Source: Cookies op gelderlander.nl | gelderlander.nl

DeepL Translator said:
Noa posthumously became world news; this is what makes her story so special

Henk van Gelder and Paul Bolwerk 06-06-19, 12:09 Last update: 12:15


ARNHEM - The death of 17-year-old Noa Pothoven from Arnhem has become world news. What is so special about her story that journalists from Australia, Germany, England, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain and the United States seek contact with De Gelderlander. And that foreign reporters in Arnhem are searching for the family.

Noa wrote a book about her tormented life. The Arnhem girl did not want to live on. She wanted peace of mind. Psychiatrists have determined that there was 'unbearable and hopeless suffering'.

Noa stopped eating and drinking. She was lying at home in the living room on a hospital bed and received medical assistance. The girl died in the night from Saturday to Sunday.

Such a young woman

While still alive, Noa with her sad story, in December last year in De Gelderlander, already got the attention of the international press. Now that the family has actually said goodbye to her, foreign media are traveling to Arnhem. In search of background stories.

Journalists from leading media such as The New York Times, BBC News, and NBC News (American television channel) wonder if and why 'the Netherlands has helped to create an active form of euthanasia' with such a young woman. A misconception that does go viral worldwide. Even the Pope tweeted about it.

Forbidden

"The death of Noa is big news in Italy. Everyone wants to hear her story. It has made a great impression in Italy.


An inside page of La Repubblica on June 5, 2019. © La Repubblica

And now all the more so because Pope Francis has spoken about it", says Elena Tebano, Italian journalist of Corriere della Sera, the biggest newspaper in Italy.
Everyone in Italy now thinks that it's euthanasia or help with suicide. Any form of euthanasia, whether passive or active, is forbidden in our country. Many people cannot believe that, despite all that she has experienced, an underage girl no longer has the will to live.

Prohibited under all circumstances


Noa's life story is very exceptional for British readers,'' says Nick Fagge of the Associated Newspapers in Great Britain. Aiding someone with a death wish is banned in England under all circumstances, truly without exception.

However, there is currently a large public debate going on about the question what to do if someone who suffers unbearable and hopelessly wants to end his/her life, but alone cannot bring that to pass. That is why the case of Noa is attracting so much attention."

Taboo

"It's no different in Germany," says Rob Savelberg, correspondent of N-TV, a German 24-hour news channel. "Death aid is forbidden by law in Germany. It is not for nothing that people with a request for help with euthanasia go to the Netherlands or Switzerland''.

"Given their history, euthanasia is a taboo in Germany," she explains: "In this country they look with fairly large eyes at the way in which the Netherlands deals with these kinds of medical-ethical issues. Well, I do know that Noa is not about active euthanasia but nevertheless this case has made the news here.''

Translated with DeepLTranslator

Here's the second one:
Why international newspapers reported the death of Noa Pothoven as 'euthanasia'...when it wasn't - DutchNews.nl - Live

Why international newspapers reported the death of Noa Pothoven as ‘euthanasia’…when it wasn’t

Columns June 6, 2019 - By Senay Boztas

When the phone rang on a Tuesday afternoon with a blocked number, I knew it was London. Sure enough, The Daily Telegraph had been calling me, asking me to check out a story.

Even to the English news editor, who doesn’t speak the tricky language of Dutch, there was something off about the unbylined, 12-paragraph story from the Central European News agency.

‘This depressed 17-year-old girl who was raped as a young child and who felt she could no longer go on living has been legally euthanised at an “end-of-life clinic,”’ it began.

So why was there only one article about the death in the Dutch press, from a local paper that had published many interviews with Noa Pothoven from Arnhem and her family?

The troubled young woman, and award-winning writer, who had been sexually abused and then traumatised by her experiences of psychiatric institutions in the Netherlands, had posted a message on her Instagram account – now deleted. In it, she announced her decision to stop eating and drinking due to her constant mental suffering and saying that she was being ‘let go’. She died last Sunday.

Clinic

Although the report in the Algemeen Dagblad [in Dutch] mentioned a euthanasia clinic high up in the copy, it was clear in other articles that this clinic had said she was not eligible for its help late last year.

So I picked up the telephone to the clinic and reached out to MP Liza Westerveld, who had campaigned on Ms Pothoven’s behalf, to ask if she could confirm – or debunk – the unlikely story. The clinic, citing patient privacy, couldn’t say much but a spokeswoman for Westerveld phoned me back saying that as far as they knew, the young woman had stopped eating. Westerveld had said goodbye to her last week and was very upset about her death.

In the meantime, media outlets from News.com.au (from the News Corp Australia stable) to the Mail Online, Independent, Washington Post and The Times were reporting a ‘euthanasia’ as though it were fact – apparently having done no checking at all.

Controversial

The editor of DutchNews.nl and I agreed that it was all very odd: if this were genuinely true, the Dutch media would be full of debate about it. Despite the aggressive interest from the rest of the world in the Netherlands’ euthanasia policy, cases around dementia and psychiatric issues are already controversial here – and subject to a high burden of proof for doctors, according to the Regional Euthanasia Review Committees’ annual reports. Every case is re-examined at regional and national level, and doctors who do not comply with strict laws and a set of new guidelines can be, and are being, prosecuted.

The Daily Telegraph of London, to its credit, did not publish anything about the sad story, and at DutchNews.nl we wrote a news piece about a promising young writer who had died. Although Ms Pothoven went into detail about her suffering – also in her book Winning or Learning – we wanted to write about her life with respect.

Only when a Politico journalist reached a local Gelderlander journalist to debunk the story and called out the international madness on Twitter, the clinic issued a statement [in Dutch and English], and Westerveld posted a Tweet denying any ‘euthanasia’, did international papers issue corrections. Perhaps they were sorry; perhaps they were afraid of a libel suit.

Money

But how did the story get so out of control? Clearly, there’s a pressure on international news outlets to keep up with the competition for clicks and when one outlet follows wire copy, more may well follow. It takes time to check things, and tight budgets mean various outlets try to cover smaller countries like The Netherlands with non-Dutch-speakers from bases like Brussels.

But just because you’ve eaten Dutch cheese once, that doesn’t mean you understand the culture – and the reporting seems to have been based around a true misunderstanding of how life and death are treated in the Netherlands.

DutchNews.nl would like to extend our condolences to Ms Pothoven’s family and friends, and hope that our media colleagues around the world will be more careful, and more kind, in the future.
 

Palinurus

The Living Force
Further update (Dutch only):
Veel buitenlandse euthanasieaanvragen na overlijden zeventienjarig meisje

DeepL Translator said:
Many foreign euthanasia requests after death seventeen year old girl

08 June 2019 13:46 Last update: 10 hours ago

Between Wednesday evening and Friday afternoon the Levenseinde-kliniek [End of Life clinic] in The Hague has received 41 requests for euthanasia from abroad, a spokesman for the clinic reports. The requests come from India and Guatemala, among others. Normally one or two requests come in during a week.

It means a lot of extra work for the clinic. All applicants will get an answer with "an extensive list of conditions that you have to meet before the application can be processed at all". According to the spokesperson, in practice this occurs rather "rarely".

At the same time, the clinic does not want to give people false hopes: "Our focus is the Netherlands. We are certainly not eager for euthanasia tourism."

The reason for the increase is the media attention for the death of seventeen-year-old Noa Pothoven from Arnhem. She wrote a book about her longing for death after she had been sexually abused as a young girl. Pothoven asked the End of Life clinic for help, but it rejected her request because of her age.

The girl died last weekend after she had stopped eating and drinking. Foreign media erroneously reported that active euthanasia was applied and called en masse to the End of Life clinic. According to the spokesman, the clinic received calls and e-mails from almost a hundred journalists.

Friends and family of Pothoven revealed that the clinic had nothing to do with her death and told the real story.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
 

Palinurus

The Living Force
Source (Dutch only): D66'er Machteld Versnel (1940-2019) wilde euthanasie, maar kreeg het niet

DeepL Translator said:
D66'er Machteld Versnel (1940-2019) wanted euthanasia, but did not get it.

August 1, 22:16 Domestic Politics


Machteld Versnel in 1994 ANP


Former councilor and former D66-MP Machteld Versnel passed away Tuesday at the age of 78. She had been ill for quite some time.

Versnel joined the city council in Utrecht in 1970, where she stayed for four years as group chairman for D66. In 1989 she joined the Lower House, in 1998 she said goodbye to politics. Until her retirement in 2005, she worked as a civil servant for the Ministry of the Interior.

Machteld and her husband Hans Versnel did not want to spend the end of their lives demented and dependent in a nursing home. That is why, years ago, they drew up a declaration of euthanasia together, in consultation with the family doctor and their children.

A nightmare

"Both Machteld and I have experienced what it means when you are demented," Hans Versnel told EenVandaag in 2017 [in Dutch]. "That was a nightmare for us. That's not going to happen to us."

It happened anyway. Machteld was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2014. Her health deteriorated rapidly: she suffered two deliriums, a sudden onset of confusion, and in 2015 she was hospitalized after a heart attack. In the rehabilitation center she heard that she had to go to a nursing home.

There she had to confirm the written declaration of euthanasia verbally. "I don't want to die at all," she said to the doctor according to her husband. "I have such nice grandchildren!" The written statement was of no further value.

Exuberant singing

In addition, there was no unbearable and hopeless suffering. On Sundays the former politician was singing enthusiastically with the choir. She didn't want to die. She spent the last years of her life in the nursing home.

Painful for her husband, because this was their biggest nightmare. "In the nursing home they say: she doesn't realize that she is here," he wrote to NRC in 2017 [in Dutch]. Before she became demented, she had "never ever" wanted to live like this. Her critical spirit, which was determined never to end up in a nursing home, was gone. "When that is over," she always said, "I don't want to go on anymore."

The issue shows how difficult it is to decide about euthanasia. You can't euthanize someone who says s/he doesn't want to die, said Pia Dijkstra, a strong advocate of the right to self-determination in euthanasia. "I don't see how you can legislate for that either."

"The decision about life and death..." said Hans Versnel, "That's not feasible. I'm annoyed by people who say it's just a decision like any other. A murder party or a whimsicality. That really is not true."

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
 

Palinurus

The Living Force
UPDATE on the combined previous posts #105, #121, #128 and #129.
Further context here: posts #114 and #124.

Preliminary news reports here:
First ever trial against euthanasia doctor starts in Den Haag
Doctor who euthanised dementia sufferer stands trial in first case of its kind - DutchNews.nl

Source: Doctor in euthanasia case guilty of murder, public prosecutor says - DutchNews.nl
Doctor in euthanasia case guilty of murder, public prosecutor says

August 26, 2019

A doctor who performed euthanasia on a patient with severe dementia should be found guilty of murder but not given any punishment, the public prosecution department said at the doctor’s trial in The Hague on Monday.

While there are no doubts about the doctor’s good intentions, she should have been more proactive in talking to the patient about her wish to die, the public prosecutor said in court.

The case, the first of its kind in the Netherlands, centers on a 74-year-old woman who had drawn up a living will some years before her admission to the nursing home and had regularly stated that she wanted to die.

‘This is a case which impacts upon the whole country and which has divided the country,’ the prosecutor said.

The doctor said in court that she had spoken three times to her patient about her wish to die, but not about her living will because ‘she could not remember anything about it’. Her long and short-term memory was shot and she no longer recognized her husband, the doctor said.

The woman’s daughter said in a written statement in court that she had no doubt her mother wished to die. ‘The doctor freed my mother from the mental prison which she ended up in,’ the statement said.

Euthanasia for people with severe dementia is rare and last year two cases were reported. In total 144 people who were in the first stages of the disease were given euthanasia, compared to 12 a decade ago.

Euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands under strict conditions. For example, the patient must be suffering unbearable pain and the doctor must be convinced the patient is making an informed choice. The opinion of a second doctor is also required.

Since the legislation was introduced in 2002, there have been a number of controversial cases, including a woman suffering severe tinnitus and a serious alcoholic.

Source in Dutch:
OM noemt arts schuldig, maar eist geen straf in unieke euthanasiezaak
 

Palinurus

The Living Force
Source: D66 working on bill for assisted suicide at end of a 'completed life'

D66 working on bill for assisted suicide at end of a 'completed life'

By Janene Pieters on September 2, 2019 - 12:00


Pia Dijkstra . (Photo: D66 / Wikimedia Commons )


Early next year coalition party D66 will submit a legislative proposal to make assisted suicide possible at the end of a "full" and "completed" life, parliamentarian Pia Dijkstra said in an interview [in Dutch] with newspaper AD. The bill is a sensitive topic [in Dutch] for Christian parties and coalition partners CDA and ChristenUnie, according to the newspaper.

The Rutte III government is currently investigating whether there is a need for assistance in dying among elderly people who are tired of life. But according to Dijkstra, CDA Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health is not working fast enough. "I find that very unfortunate. The minister clearly feels the urgency less than I do", she said to the newspaper. "People of old age who are suffering from life must have the opportunity to die at a self chosen moment."

Dijkstra mentioned her 92-year-old father as an example. He does not want to end up in a situation where he can no longer take care of himself. "It would reassure him to have the choice to get out if he cannot function anymore", she said.

The D66 parliamentarian is therefore determined to submit the bill as soon as possible, though she knows it will be some time before it is adopted. "Such a plan requires a lot of consultation and discussion in parliament. It is not a law that you rush through", she said to AD.

Currently euthanasia is only possible for people suffering unbearably due to a medical condition. The proposal for making euthanasia possible for elderly people at the end of a "full" and "completed" life was also submitted during the previous VVD-PvdA government's term. "It should not involve lonely or depressed people. Not for people with problems you can solve in a different way. " the then Health Minister Edith Schippers said. She added that it is very important to protect life, but there are people around who wake up every morning disappointed that they did not die in their sleep. The proposal had majority support in parliament, but not in the Senate.

The Christian parties were dead set against the plan to expand the euthanasia law in this way. And with two Christian parties in the Rutte III government, this is still the case. Christian politicians in The Hague told AD [in Dutch] that they will "bury" this proposal for this government's term. Opponents for assisted suicide at the end of a completed life argue that elderly people should instead be helped to find meaning in their lives again.

In the Rutte III government agreement, the four parties agreed that no new steps will be taken in the field of medical ethics. At the request of the CDA and ChristenUnie, the government agreement also states that more attention will be paid to 'life assistance' instead of 'death assistance'. On the other side, the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie also agreed that the government will provide more information about the current euthanasia law next summer. The government already launched a campaign to help terminally ill people discuss this last phase of their life with their family and friends.

Similar coverage:
D66 to press ahead with bill to support assisted suicide for 'completed lives' - DutchNews.nl
 

Palinurus

The Living Force
Source: End of Life clinic sees 15% rise in euthanasia requests

End of Life clinic sees 15% rise in euthanasia requests

By Janene Pieters on September 4, 2019 - 09:48

The number of euthanasia requests submitted to the End of Life Clinic in The Hague this year increased by 15 percent compared to last year. According to the clinic, officially called the Euthanasia Expertise Center from Wednesday, the increase is due to the judiciary's harsher attitude towards euthanasia, the Volkskrant reports [in Dutch].

The clinic was established in 2012 as a safety net for patients whose own doctor will not listen to their request for euthanasia. A few years ago the number of euthanasia requests to the clinic seemed to stabilize at around 210 a month. Since the start of this year, the number of requests averaged at 256 a month, with a record of 308 requests in July.

"Doctors have become more anxious", director Steven Pleiter of the Euthanasia Expertise Center said to the newspaper. "They are sending more patients to us." The clinic contacts each doctor who refuses a euthanasia request, to find out why. Uncertainty is currently a big reason, according to Pleiter. "We were recently called by a doctor who has performed euthanasia multiple times. He said: can you please guide me? He no longer felt sure. And he's not the only one."

The unrest among doctors began in 2017 when the Public Prosecution Service launched a criminal investigation into a doctor who performed euthanasia on a 74-year-old woman with advanced dementia. When she was still lucid, the woman indicated that she wanted euthanasia when the time was "right", but after her admittance to a nursing home she made contrary statements. The doctor eventually performed the euthanasia, in consultation with the woman's family. He was charged with murder and had to appear in court last week.

This case stemmed from the judiciary's desire for clearer standards around more complex euthanasia cases. Three other criminal investigations are currently underway, including two into a doctor at the End-of-Life clinic, according to the newspaper.

A doctor who was subject to a judicial investigation recently warned his colleagues about the judiciary in a article published in Medisch Contact Magazine. "Be careful with what you provide in reports", he wrote. "In your honesty and sincerity you mention everything you have. In a criminal case, that is immediately 'evidence'." The case against him was dismissed, but it affected him deeply. "As a doctor, you have no idea what can happen to you."

According to the Dutch association for a voluntary end of life NVVE, there can be multiple reasons for the increase in the number of requests to the Euthanasia Expertise Center. For example, the number of complex cases may be on the rise. "But if this has to do with the attitude of the judiciary and fewer people can go to their own doctor, with whom they have the best relationship, then this is out and out sad", chairman Agnes Wolbert said to the newspaper.

About the change of name (source Volkskrant):
DeepL Translator said:
Why change the name [from End of Life Clinic] to "Euthanasia Expertise Center"?

"We have been troubled by our name right from the start. We are not a clinic, we have to explain this to patients every day. People really think it's a building where life ending activities take place. Originally that was the idea, by the way. We had eight rooms. But we quickly moved away from that: there was no need for it."
Similar coverage:
More people turn to end-of-life clinic for euthanasia, request rise 15% - DutchNews.nl
 
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