Dutch doctors ‘refusing’ to perform euthanasia
3 February 2005
AMSTERDAM — A Dutch pro-euthanasia group has launched an investigation into claims that doctors are trying to avoid performing requested euthanasia or are continually delaying carrying out the request.
The Dutch Voluntary End to Life Association (NVVE) said its large-scale investigation among surviving relatives into unperformed euthanasia requests, will be completed by the end of next year, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.
As the NVVE presented a book of interviews with surviving relatives on Thursday, director Rob Jonquière said many of the interviews indicate that doctors are looking for excuses not to carry out euthanasia. “We want to know how often this occurs,” he said.
Research commissioned by the Dutch government has found that of the 9,700 requests for euthanasia lodged in 2001, only 3,800 were carried out. In one-third of the requests not carried out, doctors said the patient had already died before euthanasia could be performed.
In 20 percent of the cases, doctors were not prepared to assist a patient commit suicide because not all the legal requirements had been met.
The views of patients and relatives were not included in the research for two former studies and it remains unclear if the comments from doctors were correct. Jonquière said if doctors try and delay euthanasia, they would not be too keen to admit that to researchers.
The NVVE has asked a social medicine professor with the Free University medical centre in Amsterdam, Gerrit van der Waal to conduct the investigation. Van der Waal has in recent years led two investigations into the euthanasia practices among doctors.
Euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands since April 2002. The law allows assisted suicides if the patient officially requests to die, is suffering from extreme pain or a terminal illness and a second medical opinion has been sought. The Netherlands was the first nation to legalise assisted suicides.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news