Doctors and dispensing chemists have agreed a joint guideline on euthanasia, doctors’ federation KNMG and dispensing chemists’ organisation KNMP said on Tuesday.
The new guidelines will replace those drawn up five years ago by dispensing chemists and underline the cooperation between the two sets of medical professionals on the subject.
‘The guidelines not only contain technical information about, for instance, the amount of a drug to be administered, but also explain for the first time why a certain method has been chosen,’ a KNMG spokesman told website nu.nl.
‘You never build up experience with euthanasia so joint guidelines are very practical,’ Annemieke Horikx of the medicine information centre told the website. ‘These guidelines are the standard for the medical testing commission.’
Euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands under strict conditions. For example, the patient must be ‘suffering unbearably’ and the doctor must be convinced the patient is making an informed choice. The opinion of a second doctor is also required.
The number of reported deaths by euthanasia rose 13% to 2,636 in 2009. Some 80% of people who opt for mercy killing die at home.