The number of requests for euthanasia made to a special clinic for people whose doctors won’t help has risen 15% so far this year.
The increase, clinic staff say, may be partly due to the extra scrutiny doctors are facing from justice ministry officials. One doctor is currently on trial for murder for carrying out a euthanasia which, according to the public prosecution department, was not in line with the rules.
‘There is clearly something going on with euthanasia care in the Netherlands,’ said clinic director manager Steven Pleiter. ‘Doctors have become more anxious and are sending more people to us.’
Last year, the number of cases of euthanasia fell by 7% and just six of the 6,126 registered cases were classed as problematic. In over 90% of cases, patients are suffering from cancer or other terminal or untreatable illnesses
The end-of-life clinic was established in 2012 and is now dealing with around 250 requests a month. Since its foundation it has dealt with almost 12,00 requests for help, of which just over 25% were honoured.
According to the Dutch law, which dates back to 2002, patients must be experiencing unbearable suffering without perspective of improvement in order to be eligible for euthanasia. Two doctors have to approve the request.
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