Dutch doctors against euthanasia for advanced dementia patients
A group of 220 Dutch doctors took out an advertisement in NRC on Friday to show that they are against granting euthanasia to advanced dementia patients. The doctors believe it's wrong to give euthanasia based on a statement which the patient can no longer confirm.
"Our moral reluctance to end the life of a defenseless human being is too big", the ad reads. Among the signers are also doctors specialized in helping patients die.
The doctors want to restart the conversation about euthanasia for severely demented people, according to NOS. Since 2015 there were three cases of euthanasia granted to patients with advanced dementia. Initiator and geriatric doctor Boudewijn Chabot wants a court to decide whether these cases were carefully handled according to the rules.
The rules for euthanasia for elderly people with dementia were adjusted in December 2015. The Ministries of Public Health and Security and Justice changed the euthanasia guidelines to state that euthanasia can be granted to advanced dementia patients if they made a written declaration with this wish while they were still lucid. Before this adaption, a patient had to express the desire for death himself. But this is no longer required.
A Dutch doctor was recently rebuked for granting euthanasia to a dementia patient, the first time in Dutch history that this happened. The Regional Review Committee concluded that the patient's wish for euthanasia was not clear enough.