Lack of cash may force euthanasia clinic to close

A special clinic set up to help people whose family doctors do not accept euthanasia may be forced to close because of a lack of funding, according to media reports on Tuesday.

Nearly all health insurers apart from Menzis refuse to pay for euthanasia carried out through the clinic, RTL news reported.

Director Steven Pleiter told the broadcaster the insurers are intransigent. ‘We take over complicated medical cases from doctors. It is terrible that this specialised help has to be paid for by donations and subsidies,’ he said.

60 requests

The clinic was set up by the voluntary euthanasia society NVVE 18 months ago and receives some 60 enquiries a month. Most enquiries come from people whose own doctors oppose euthanasia or refuse to help them.

Assisted suicide accounts for around 2.8% of all deaths in the Netherlands. Euthanasia is legal 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.