More people ask euthanasia center for help; 1,240 requests approved last year
The Euthanasia Expertise Center granted 1,240 requests for euthanasia last year, 11 percent more than in 2021. The number of requests increased by 13 percent, from 3,689 in 2021 to 4,159 in 2022, Trouw reports based on the center’s annual figures.
The Euthanasia Expertise Center, formerly called the End of Life Clinic, helps people whose own doctor cannot honor their request for euthanasia, for example, because they find the request too complicated. About a third of the patients who went to the center last year received euthanasia. That percentage has been stable for years.
Around a fifth of the euthanasia requests the expertise center received last year came from patients with psychological suffering. Of the 781 requests, the center granted 90. The expertise center is working with the Ministry of Public Health and mental health services to increase knowledge about euthanasia among psychiatrists. Psychiatrists sometimes shy away from euthanasia because the patients involved are often relatively young, and it is difficult to determine whether they’ve exhausted all treatment options.
The number of euthanasia requests increases nationwide by almost 10 percent per year. The number of times doctors throughout the Netherlands granted euthanasia last year will be announced next month. In 2021 it was 7,666 times.
The increase in people receiving euthanasia can partly be explained by the aging population. But the share of euthanasia in the total number of deaths also increased to almost 5 percent two years ago. Experts told Trouw that this is because euthanasia is a more accepted option, and baby boomers find it more important to decide for themselves how their lives will end.