Four Dutch euthanasia cases under criminal investigation
13 March 2018
How many more cases of abuse will arise?
There has also been a sharp rise in cases.
The Dutch Public Prosecution Service has announced that it has begun investigations into four cases of euthanasia. Following on from a case last year when a doctor was reprimanded for euthanising a dementia patient without consent, these new cases are among 12 which were flagged by the monitoring committee as not being properly carried out.
About 7,000 people were euthanised by doctors in 2017, according to official records, up from 4,188 five years ago.
Victims across the country
Two of the cases under investigation concern the same doctor in Noord-Holland, employed by Levenseindekliniek, an end of life clinic. One case involves a 67 year old woman with Alzheimer's, who, it is claimed, was killed despite being unable to give consent. The second victim was an 84-year-old woman who was euthanised last June after claiming her life was "hopeless" because of several physical illnesses. It has been suggested that this was not sufficiently proven to be case.
The public prosecutor in Oost-Nederland is also investigating the death of a 72-year-old woman last April who had metastasised cancer but lapsed into a coma, leaving the physician unable to ascertain that the decision for euthanasia was voluntary and well-considered, the review committee said.
In the fourth case, which is being investigated in The Hague, a euthanasia request from an 84-year-old woman was granted in February last year after the patient complained that her freedom of movement had been "very much restricted" by pulmonary emphysema. It is said that the physician concluded too easily that the suffering of the patient was hopeless.
Will anything be done?
Despite worldwide media attention focused on the abuse of the Dutch euthanasia law, there has not been a single prosecution of a doctor involved in euthanasia to date. The doctor who drugged and held down the dementia patient was cleared by a review panel.;
Last month, a Dutch euthanasia regulator quit her post in protest at the killings of patients suffering from dementia.
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