September 11, 2019
Dutch Court Upholds Right of Dementia Patient to Voluntary Euthanasia
Dutch Court Rules Euthanasia OK for Dementia Patients
Exit International has welcomed the verdict in the criminal case today in the Hague which found a doctor not guilty of the forced euthanasia of a woman with severe dementia.
Speaking from Amsterdam, Exit Director, Dr Philip Nitschke, said it was a common sense verdict for the court to find that the doctor had not only acted in good faith, but that she had abided by the wishes of her patient, as she had expressed them some four years earlier.
‘As in other countries where voluntary euthanasia is legal, dementia remains a vexed issue’ he said.
‘On the one hand, under Dutch law, a person can make a living will where they are able to request euthanasia should they lose capacity.
‘On the other hand, Dutch doctors remain, for obvious reasons, very hesitant to act on such instructions.
‘For example, in this case, there was considerable confusion as to whether the woman, in her advanced dementia still desired to be assisted to die. In considering this issue the courts had to confront the woman’s statutory and basic human right to life against any additional right to received euthanasia assistance’.
‘In the verdict today, the Judges’ decision reflects the pragmatism of Dutch society more broadly.
‘If a person prior to developing dementia expresses in writing a well-considered and sustained wish to be assisted to die, then they should be lawfully able to receive such assistance.
Far from being out of control, the Dutch have orchestrated a law of voluntary euthanasia that is both compassionate and pragmatic.
‘I fully understand that this woman did not want to spend her last years as a vegetable in a nursing home.
‘I fully support her right to choose and the doctor’s right to help her in this quest.
END ____________________________________________11 Sept 2019
CONTACT: Dr Philip Nitschke +31 6309 66 992 (NL) firstname.lastname@example.org