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Posted on September 14, 2020 at 3:30 AM

Last month, a Regional Health Care Disciplinary Court in Amsterdam dismissed (also here) a complaint against a physician who administered euthanasia to a patient with dementia. 

A Regional Euthanasia Review Committee (RTE) had earlier concluded the physician did not act with due care. But the disciplinary court held that the patient’s written advance directive could replace the patient’s oral euthanasia request to satisfy the requirement for a voluntary and well-considered request from the patient.

Nevertheless, the court also concluded that the physician failed to sufficiently investigate whether the patient’s dementia was already at such an advanced stage that there was no longer any current suffering. The court noted that “euthanasia in a deeply demented patient is the subject of debate within and outside the professional group and is (therefore) exceptional in the Netherlands.”

The Dutch Supreme Court approved an different advance request in April 2020. This body of growing jurisprudence in the Netherlands is useful guidance as other countries (like Canada) explore advance requests for euthanasia.


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