Dutch doctor who ‘asked family to help with euthanasia’ being investigated

A doctor is under criminal investigation in the Netherlands after killing a patient with the assistance of her family, despite her attempt to resist.

The unnamed doctor became convinced that the 74-year-old wanted to die and so hid sleeping drugs in her coffee.

As the medic prepared to inject a lethal drug, the patient sat up. But her family held her and the doctor proceeded to administer the final dose of the euthanasia drug.

Chilling

Dr Peter Saunders, CEO of the Christian Medical Fellowship, told The Christian Institute the “horrific” case shows why the UK prohibition on euthanasia is in place.

“It is a chilling reminder that once we accept euthanasia or assisted suicide in any circumstances at all it will quickly become impossible to control and there will be an inevitable widening of categories of people to be included: from terminal to chronic illness, from physical to mental conditions, from adults to children and from mentally competent to mentally incompetent.

“The UK should take notice and be warned of the folly of going down this route.”

Reprimanded

In the Netherlands, euthanasia has been legal since 2002. In 2017 alone, there were 6,585 euthanasia deaths.

In this case, a report last year claimed the doctor had acted ‘in good faith’.

But now the Dutch medical complaints board has reprimanded the unnamed medic, and the chief public prosecutor is considering criminal charges.

Boundary crossed

The woman involved had said she wanted euthanasia if the dementia she was suffering with became too severe.

However, when repeatedly asked about euthanasia in the care home, she said: “Not now, it’s not so bad yet”.

But the doctor went ahead with pills in her drink, then further sedatives and finally the lethal drug.

The euthanasia watchdog said the doctor “overstepped a boundary”, and had failed to consider whether the patient’s negative reaction to the drugs was “an important sign that she did not want a cannula and a needle to be inserted”.

Illegal

In the UK, euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal.

For assisted suicide – where a person intentionally encourages or assists the suicide or attempted suicide of another – the law in England, Wales and Northern Ireland carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

A Bill to legalise assisted suicide was soundly defeated in the House of Commons in 2015 by 330 votes to 118.