Nearly 5,000 chose euthanasia in 2013; 15% increase
Doctors in the Netherlands assisted 4,829 people to commit suicide in 2013, representing a 15% percent increase over 2012. The vast majority of cases involved patients suffering with cancer or unbearable pain, according to a report published by the five regional review committees.
The report outlined how doctors working in 2013 performed the euthanasia procedure in almost all cases. The committee flagged doctors in five cases because they did not perform the procedure according to the guidelines. In two cases, doctors made mistakes in their methodology, prescribing a non-standard drug to make the patient comatose. In none of the five cases were the errors so severe that the Public Prosecutor had to be called in.
Of the 4,829 people who were assisted, almost 3,600 were suffering from cancer related illnesses, 42 people reported having the procedure due to severe psychiatric problems, and 97 due to dementia cases where the patents were able to communicate their wish to die.
Euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands under strict conditions since 2002.