Tuesday 03 August 2021

Doctors should always deal with euthanasia: KNMG

Doctors with moral objections to euthanasia should always refer patients to another doctor for help, according to new guidelines drawn up by the national doctors association KNMG.


In addition, euthanasia requests should always be taken seriously, even if someone has simply had enough of life without being terminally ill, the KNMG says.
A string of complaints relating to old age, for example, could be grounds for mercy killing, even if they are not terminal. But no-one should be helped to die simply because they are old or fed up with living, the organisation says.
Refusal
In July it emerged around one third of doctors had refused a euthanasia request over the past years.
Around half of the 800 family doctors questioned by television programme EenVandaag said they had felt pressured by patients or their relatives to help them to die.
And almost 75% said they were unwilling to carry out euthanasia on someone who is worried about unbearable suffering in the future. Only 20% are willing to help a patient who is tired of life.
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.

The position paper, in English, can be downloaded by clicking here

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