Expatica news

‘Euthanasia doctor’ accused of five murders

3 August 2005

BRUSSELS — An Oostende doctor has been accused of murdering five elderly patients in a coastal nursing home in the past three years.

The victims — all of whom were suffering from dementia — died after being injected with a lethal dose of morphine.

The doctor, identified only as Boudewijn D.W., has admitted administering the treatment, but has denied murdering his patients.

A Brugge judge ordered the man’s arrest on Friday, but he was released on Tuesday morning. Investigations into the deaths continue, newspaper ‘Het Nieuwsblad’ reported on Wednesday.

The doctor has claimed he only wanted to end his patients’ suffering and that he had discussed giving them injections with their families and nursing staff.

However, the nursing home Sint-Monica in Oostende reported the deaths to authorities and the doctor was arrested on suspicion of five murders.

Belgium law permits euthanasia if strict procedures are followed, but nursing home spokesman Alex Daenekindt has denied the five deaths were a form of euthanasia.

And an Oostende lawyer said euthanasia regulations are very precise, pointing out that the request must come from the patient and that the doctor must be certain the patient is suffering from an incurable illness.

A second medical opinion must be sought and the nursing team should be consulted along with the patient’s family. The medical dossier must then report all of these steps and outline the conclusions.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news