Euthanasia patient saves five lives with organ donation

Oil painting of a surgery (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Wellcome Library, London)Oil painting of a surgery (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Wellcome Library, London)

One man recently saved the lives of five other patients by donating his organs after euthanasia. He gave his last breath in an operating room at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, while five other patients lay waiting in five other operating rooms, AD reports.

The man suffered from the effects of a stroke and therefore decided that he no longer wants to live. He died in the operating room surrounded by his loved ones, Erasmus MC staff and a doctor from the Levenseindekliniek - the End of Life Clinic in English.

According to AD, almost everything about this case is exceptional. The fact that the man could donate five organs - including his liver, kidneys and pancreas - in itself is very special, usually only about three organs are suitable. The fact that the euthanasia was carried out by a doctor from the Levenseindekliniek in another hospital is unique. And donating organs after euthanasia is a rare occurrence in the Netherlands.

The first time someone donated their organs after euthanasia in the Netherlands was in 2012. Last year there were eight. A total of 15 Dutch people have made their organs available after their euthanasia.

The main reason that this is so rare, is that most people who decide on euthanasia suffer from cancer and their organs are therefore not viable. And not everyone wants to donate their organs as this would mean dying in an operating room, instead of at home, and family members only having about 5 minutes to say goodbye. Organs need to be transplanted immediately after death.