A 64-year-old woman suffering from severe senile dementia has become the first person in the Netherlands to be given euthanasia even though she could no longer express her wish to die, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday.
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 woman was a long-time supporter of euthanasia but became unable to make this clear as the disease progressed. Nevertheless, a medical committee approved her right to die, the paper says.
The case has serious implications for Dutch euthanasia law because it means patients who are no longer able to state their wish can still be helped to die, Constance de Vries, who acts as a second opinion doctor for euthanasia cases, told the paper.
The woman, who died in March, left a written statement when she was fully in possession of her faculties saying she wished to die. Her husband and children fully supported the decision.
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