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Charges against GP dropped in Ostend deaths

Published on 11/12/2009

The GP faced charges because he had administered morphine to these five patients in his care.

Shortly after the drug was administered the elderly patients died. The old folks’ home in which they were staying then filed a complaint against the doctor.
A magistrate on Wednesday decided not to prosecute the GP. He ruled that the doctor did not intend to perform euthanasia.

The doctor’s lawyer told the VRT that the magistrate concluded that the doctor had acted to alleviate pain.

In certain cases administering pain relief can have a life-shortening effect, but the doctor’s only intention was to address the patients’ pain.

Lawyer Thierry Vansweefelt added: "The ruling is an important one for the entire medical sector.They now know that they are working entirely within a legal framework and that there was no case of euthanasia."

He hopes that the number of complaints against doctors will now fall.