Netherlands: ‘Doctors: euthanasia for dementia patients should be restricted’
16 May 2013
The Dutch doctors’ organisation (KNMG) is to meet Health Minister Edith Schippers on May 16 to discuss the possibility of limiting the scope of the law on euthanasia, which came into force in 2002.
A large proportion of doctors believe that euthanasia should not be used in cases where patients suffering from serious dementia are no longer able to communicate, even if they have previously signed a request for euthanasia. Instead they want the practice restricted to cases where patients can confirm — verbally or otherwise — they want to put an end to their lives.
However, the medical profession remains divided on the issue, with some doctors still in favour of the full application of the law. As a GP cited by Volkskrant explains: “In respecting his or her will, we pay homage to a patient who was once alive, and not to a human being who no longer knows if he or she exists.”