The Dutch voluntary euthanasia society is looking for a partner to open a special clinic later next year where people can go to end their lives, the Volkskrant reports.
The NVVE says its research shows some hospitals and hospices are prepared to back a clinic, which would help around 1,000 people a year to die. People suffering incurable physical complaints, chronic psychiatric conditions and dementia could turn to the centre if their own doctors are not responsive to their wish to end their lives.
People who have been turned down by their doctor are often desperate, the NVVE’s Petra de Jong told the paper.
‘We talk to partners who are willing to risk prison to help. Sometimes people choose a gruesome way to kill themselves,’ she said. ‘We have heard that nursing home patients sometimes set themselves on fire.’
The Dutch doctors association KNMG told television current affairs show Nieuwsuur it does not support the clinic – partly because patients would only be there for three days before dying.
Spokesman Lode Wigersma said doctors are concerned that the clinic would not treat patients with the proper care and make death too easy.
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.
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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