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13 psychiatric patients were helped to die last year

Tuesday 25 September 2012

A total of 13 psychiatric patients were helped to end their life last year, compared with just two in 2010, according to new figures from the regional euthanasia monitoring groups.

Euthanasia among people in the early stages of dementia also rose last year to 49 cases, double that of 2010.

The figures are in line with a general upward trend. The total number of euthanasia cases rose 18% last year to 3,695 and the number of cases has doubled since 2006, the report said.

The reasons for the increase are not yet known but are being investigated by researchers from the monitoring groups.

Assisted suicide now accounts for 2.8% of all deaths in the Netherlands, researchers from four Dutch teaching hospitals and the national statistics office CBS found earlier this year.

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.

Should people be helped to die if they are suffering unbearably? Share your thoughts using the comment form below.

© DutchNews.nl

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Readers' comments (34)

who decides for dementia patients?
they do ?

By allan lieberman | September 25, 2012 4:04 PM

the only objections come from the religious, who have no business injecting their faith into the logic of practical medical protocols.

By Janka | September 25, 2012 4:05 PM

I for one think folks should have a say as to how and when they die. I know if I am ever in that position, I would want help

By dee | September 25, 2012 4:49 PM

Being a compassionate person my answer is YES!. My father was helped to die in 1986 and subsequently my aunt was as well (in Holland). Although I must say that the numbers listed in this article are somewhat alarming.

By Gerry1211 | September 25, 2012 6:17 PM

Yes, people should be allowed to die if they are suffering, or if they know that they are going to have no quality of life through illness and a painful lingering death.

By Chezzie | September 25, 2012 6:32 PM

To kill a human being is inhuman and crimnal act.I am totally against it.

By Rahel | September 25, 2012 7:51 PM

How can a psychiatric patient agree to assisted suicide? By nature of the illness a psychiatric patient cannot rationally consent to his/her medical wishes.

By Maria | September 25, 2012 7:52 PM

If that is what they truly want and the guidelines are adhered to, then yes

By Jack | September 25, 2012 8:26 PM

We say that it's inhumane to keep an animal alive if it's suffering, and yet we consider it perfectly human to let a human being spend years living in misery. I fully believe in the right to choose so long as the guidelines are adhered to, and I hope in years to come that I would have the right to chose should it be necessary.

By Chris | September 25, 2012 10:16 PM

Of course not. How can any of the category of patient above make an informed choice? It is not right to end someone's life under any circulstances.

By Jill Stirling | September 26, 2012 12:42 AM

Life is the highest value of the Western countries. We do all we can to preserve life, including resuscitation. Psychiatric patients can often be given a higher quality of life through medications.
I was a psychiatric patient (depression) when young, and medications relieved my symptoms so I could enjoy life and progress. How do dementia and psychiatric patients legally give consent?

By Pavelina | September 26, 2012 2:42 AM

This is difficult to judge but so long as extra steps are taken to ensure that the patients understand what they consented to, it is better to put them to sleep than for them to jump down from a buildingto end their sufferings.

By ufo | September 26, 2012 8:11 AM

And how's prince Frisso doing? Has he been disconnected yet? Oh, no, wait, he's in the UK.

By phantom | September 26, 2012 9:36 AM

@maria: Well Said. Admirable comment.

By dork | September 26, 2012 10:17 AM

I am appalled that we are stooping to the level of Assisted suicide, as a last resort in psychiatry, legally admissible since 2002, recently legitimized in practice. The midwife [of] Death is now appropriate for psychiatric reach patients, representing an emancipation of the psychiatric patient and psychiatry itself.


By Highlander | September 26, 2012 10:25 AM

There's no heaven, no hell, no after life, no coming back as somebody else. When you die, you simply cease to exist. It's not something to fear. Don't see the big issue about death. If someone wants help dying, give it. If someone wants to end their life, offer them tips on the least messy way of doing it. If police kill a murderer / rapist etc - no problem in my book either. It's all under the same broad banner for me.

By A Nonny Mouse | September 26, 2012 12:31 PM

@ Rahel

Would you care to expand on your comment and explain why to allow someone who is suffering unbearably to die in dignity is, in your words, inhuman?

By Pete | September 26, 2012 12:51 PM

I am disabled - I use a wheelchair full time and a respirator at night. I suffer severe pain which no pain relief drug will touch. I wanted to die for 10 years. I would have qualified for euthanasia under the Dutch law. If I had died then, I would have missed the best years of my life. I needed help to live, not to die.

By Alison Davis | September 26, 2012 2:03 PM

Abortion is also about killing a life but I think it is legal here in NL.

By ufo | September 26, 2012 3:30 PM

The main question here is how do you define 'Unbearable Suffering'? Who decides? The doctor? The patient? How do we even measure that? Death comes eventually to everyone, why are we in such a hurry? Could the knowledge of possibly dying this way this be the reason why so many who are still alive are in such desperate depression?

By Franz Rodriguez | September 26, 2012 3:40 PM

Every case is different and should be judged accordingly, I wish that my father had been here rather than in England when he died, then he wouldn't have died waiting three days for pain killers that nobody bothered to deliver. I loved him enough to put him out of his pain, thank goodness he is at peace now wherever he is!

By Chezzie | September 26, 2012 3:56 PM

A nonny mouse

(There's no heaven, no hell, no after life, no coming back as somebody else. When you die, you simply cease to exist. It's not something to fear)

Perhaps, you could provide some proof? Get a grip, I know people who are borderliners, nice folks, troubled though, and from time to time, they wish they weren't here. And, other times, they are full of joys of life. This is like the Nazi final solution, we need more compassion and assistance, not, exterminate the problem. We are supposed to be a civilized society? Everything is so easy and twisted these days, what a sad bunch of Sociopath's we have become.

By Highlander | September 26, 2012 4:14 PM

Euthanasia is a cost effective method to help all interested parties. Where is the issue? ...

By si | September 26, 2012 7:48 PM

There should be euthanasia clinics, where anyone can go to have their life ended. Euthanasia should not just be for ill people, it should be for anyone who has had enough of life and wants it ended as quickly & pain free as possible. Morals & religion should stay away. Nothing has killed more people than morals & religion.

By Anne Onymous | September 26, 2012 11:39 PM

13 psychiatric patients were helped to die last year. This is wrong. This is against the Eighth Amendment of the American constitution. With your “Dutch kill them all off” law, if Prince Friso was a normal person he would be “pushing up tulips” by now. In the special clinic he will recover.

By Terence Hale | September 27, 2012 10:38 AM

@ Anne Nonsense

I read some comments on here over the years, this is one of the saddest comments I have ever 'seen posted'. You must be incredibly unhappy in your life to contemplate people taking their own life for no good reason. I hope that the readers here are not influenced by such sad statements. And, for the folks who 'hate Mondays', don't do it!

By Highlander | September 27, 2012 10:47 AM

@ Anne -
your comment is absurd and very disrespectful of those who are indeed in "terrible pain" and, in my view, deserve to choose. If one "has had enough of life" what s/he needs is someone humane who can help find a solution for his/her problems - i.e. someone who sounds like the opposit of you (who would probably push anyone in a bad mood over the cliff)

By the_expat | September 27, 2012 5:07 PM

Is there a reference to the source data?

By Galactor | September 28, 2012 2:50 PM

There are two world views - one, that my life is the state's or God's and it is their choice not mine when it ends, and another, that my life is mine to self-determine, and end when I have had enough. For the state to determine I must suffer unbearably before I choose, seems to me cruel, vindictive.

The manual that psychiatrists use is some 500 pages long. 20% of Americans have at some time been diagnosed. I expect the 'psychiatric patients' in this statistic were competent to choose. And if they'd gone past competence, I would hope they had made their wishes known.

(I live in the US, and admire Dutch attitudes towards what are for me personal issues.)

By Lillie Ross | October 1, 2012 7:29 PM

Get used to this, people. Now we're all just animals, we can be put down whenever TPTB decide. Eugenics, Euthanasia, it's all coming back, praise be to Darwin. Have a great old age!

By Mako | October 3, 2012 6:38 AM

Yes - if suffering and in unbearable pain, I'd like to have a choice. It's my life and my decision. I am not forcing religious people to follow the same path; they shouldn't be trying to impose their believes on others.

By kiki | October 3, 2012 1:27 PM

@ Lille Ross

There is always the bigger picture, and all the facts are not necessarily made public. It takes much more 'honest and transparent public debate', to determine the true facts, we live in a world of smoke and mirrors these days. We should not be so urgent to accept what we are spoon fed in the media. Intelligent discretion, and a proper sense of morality should prevail at all times. We need to be much more vigilant and act in a humane and proper manner that protects the sanctity of human life. Why are we in such a hurry to Euthanize? Stop, and think, before we act please.


By Highlander | October 3, 2012 2:17 PM

This is appalling. I've seen what assisted suicide is like (documentary with Terry Pratchet, Choosing to Die). It didn't sit well with me. It just felt wrong to watch. And the manner in which it is done couldn't be done with people in a poor state of mind. What would you say? Go on, drink your medicine?
I find the numbers sickening. 13, and thats just the psychiatric patients.

By Mike | October 3, 2012 2:24 PM

(A careful 1974 British study, which involved extensive interviews and examination of medical records, found that 93% of those studied who committed suicide were mentally ill at the time.1 A similar St. Louis study, published in 1984, a mental disorder in 94% of those who committed suicide.2 There is a great body of psychological evidence that those who attempt suicide are normally ambivalent,3 that they usually attempt suicide for reasons other than a settled desire to die,4 and that they are predominantly the victims of mental disorder)


By Highlander | October 3, 2012 2:27 PM

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