Sharp growth in euthanasia deaths

The number of reported deaths by euthanasia rose 13% last year to 2,636, following an increase of 10% in 2008, the NRC reports, quoting figures due to be published at the beginning of July.


The 2008 increase led the health ministry to set up an investigation into the increase. That investigation is due to start this month.
One reason for the increase could be that the taboo surrounding euthanasia is fading, Jan Suyver, chairman of the regional euthanasia monitoring group told the paper. ‘It could also be that doctors are more likely to report it,’ he said.
Some 80% of people who opt for mercy killing die at home.
Euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands under strict conditions. For example, the patient must be suffering unbearable pain and the doctor must be convinced the patient is making an informed choice. The opinion of a second doctor is also required.


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