Authorities in the Netherlands will pursue a criminal case against a doctor accused of performing euthanasia on a 74-year-old incapacitated woman with dementia. Her prosecution will be the country's first against a doctor involving euthanasia since the Dutch law permitting the practice went into law over 15 years ago.
A 21-year-old nursing home worker accused of intentionally injecting elderly patients with overdoses of insulin is now suspected in two other fatal cases, the public prosecutor announced on Thursday. Rahiied A. was already suspected of causing the death of one person, and having possible involvement in the deaths of four others.
There are at least six known cases where a victim survived.
Rahiied A. is the 21-year-old Rotterdam man arrested last week on suspicion of murdering an elderly woman in a nursing home in Puttershoek, and attempting to murder two other elderly women in Puttershoek and Rotterdam, by giving them insulin without medical necessity, newspaper AD reports. People who know A. describe him as a "family person" and an "ambitious boy".
The authorities exhumed the body of an elderly woman who the Public Prosecutor believes was murdered in a nursing home in Puttershoek on Monday. Her body was transferred to the Netherlands Forensic Institution for a further investigation into the cause of her death, AD reports.
Residents of nursing home Huys te Hoecke in Puttershoek, municipality Binnenmaas, were horrified by the news that an employee of the nursing home was arrested for murdering one of their neighbors. "It is really bizarre. This could have happened to one of us", a 75-year-old resident said to newspaper AD.
A 21-year-old man from Rotterdam was arrested for euthanizing a patient without her permission or that of a relative, which the Public Prosecutor is charging as murder. The nursing home employee is also suspected of attempting to do the same to two other patients. The suspect worked at a number of care institutions, the Prosecutor said in a statement on Monday.
The End Of Life clinic needs to hire at least 50 more doctors in order to keep up with the increasing number of applications for euthanasia, a spokesperson said to RTL Nieuws. The clinic already employs 59 doctors, so their doctors need to almost double. "We want to avoid waiting lists and people in need unnecessarily having to wait", the spokesperson said.
The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie are now really very almost done with their government agreement, ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers said to NOS on Friday afternoon. But he thinks the four parties will have to meet again on Monday.
There will be no meetings over the weekend. The ChristenUnie respects the Sunday rest. "And on Saturday I have other plans", Segers said to the broadcaster.
The four parties negotiating forming a new Dutch government together reached a compromise on medical ethics issues, AD reports based on a draft text for the government agreement. It says that the government will not make any proposals to expand the euthanasia law to allow assisted suicide for elderly people at the end of a full life, but will make more stem cell research possible, according to the newspaper.
The end of the Dutch government formation talks between the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie is not yet in sight, the party leaders confirmed on Wednesday following the first day of talks after the summer vacation. The D66 and ChristenUnie are still struggling to agree on issues of "principle" like abortion and assisted suicide.
It seems that Christian party SGP is extending its fight against extending the Dutch euthanasia law to the outside world. SGP leader Kees van der Staaij published an opinion piece in American newspaper The Wall Street Journal under the headline: "In the Netherlands, the doctor will kill you".
"Is the day coming that it will be normal for old people to take a pill and simply disappear?" Van der Staaij wrote, according to the Volkskrant. According to him, the Netherlands is on a slippery slope.
The number of euthanasia cases in the Netherlands increased by 10 percent last year. A total of 6,091 people died through euthanasia, 557 more than in 2015, according to an annual report by the euthanasia review committees, AD reports.
Most of the euthanasia cases involved cancer. There were also many cases of nervous system disorders and cardiovascular diseases. The number of euthanasia cases involving patients with dementia, psychiatric disorders or old age ailments also increased.
Doctors in the Netherlands should refer their patients to another doctor if they can not or do not want to grant a euthanasia request themselves, according to the foundation Levenseindenkliniek (End of Life Clinic), ANP reports.
After talking with all 13 elected party leaders on Monday, "coalition scout" Edith Schippers will be meeting with the leaders of the VVD, CDA, D66 and GroenLinks today to discuss a possible coalition, RTL Nieuws reports.
SGP party leader Kees van der Staaij brutally attacked the D66 and its leader Alexander Pechtold in the Christian debate in Ede on Thursday. Van der Staaij compared Pechtold's "radical secular ideology" with radical Islam, BNR reports.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte has his doubts about expanding the euthanasia law to allow assisted suicide at the end of a "full life". He does not think that this will be arranged in the new cabinet period, he said in an interview with Nederlands Dagblad on Thursday.
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.
For the first time in Dutch history a doctor in the Netherlands was reprimanded for giving euthanasia to a dementia patient while it was not conclusively established that euthanasia was what the woman wanted at that time, Trouw reports. The implementation of euthanasia was also traumatic, the Regional Review Committee concluded, according to the newspaper.
Euthanasia is hardly ever approved for advanced dementia patients, despite the fact that the Ministries of Public Health and Security and Justice gave the go ahead that it can be given to dementia patients who requested it in a written declaration while they were still lucid. Since the euthanasia request declaration system was implemented end 2015, there's only been three known cases of it being used, the Volkskrant reports based on information from the euthanasia review committees RTE.
The VVD is very much against setting a minimum age to qualify for euthanasia after a full or completed life. In a parliamentary debate on the government's plan, VVD parliamentarian Arno Rutte called it inappropriate because it would make people who reach that age feel uncomfortable with the idea that their lives are now "complete", the Telegraaf reports.
Former CDA parliamentarian Frans Jozef van der Heijden and his wife ended their lives together on Friday at the ages of 78- and 76-years respectively. They explain their decision to do so in an obituary published in newspaper AD on Tuesday.
Psychiatrists in the Netherlands are concerned that the Dutch government's plan to allow assisted suicide at the end of a "full life" will put them in a difficult position, Damien Denys, president of the Dutch psychiatrists association NVvP said to newspaper Trouw.
SP members Lilian Marijnissen and Renske Leitjen think there is a link between the quality of nursing home care and elderly people's desire to make an end to their life, they said on Twitter in response to to government's plan to allow assisted suicide at the end of a "full life". Other parliamentary parties were outraged
The Dutch government wants to adjust the Euthanasia Act so that people who aren't sick, but feel that their life is completed, can end their lives with assisted suicide. This will only be allowed under "strict and rigorous criteria", the government wrote to parliament. The majority of parliamentarians support the plan.