Dutch activists planning euthanasia clinic

Michael Cook
27 Jan 2011
Reproduced with Permission

The Dutch voluntary euthanasia society (NVVE) is planning to open an eight-person clinic in 2012 where people can go to end their lives. It estimates that about 1,000 people a year would take advantage of its facilities. It would cater for people whose doctors have refused to euthanase them. Not only people with an incurable illness, but also people with chronic psychiatric conditions and dementia would be welcome.

Reported deaths by euthanasia in the Netherlands rose 13% to 2,636 in 2009, although it is strongly suspected that there are many unreported euthanasia deaths. Euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands under certain conditions. The patient is supposed to 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. It is not altogether clear how the proposed clinic would meet these guidelines.

The Dutch medical association (KNMG) does not support the clinic - partly because patients would only stay there for three days before they died. A spokesman for the KNMG said that doctors feared that the clinic would not give proper care and would make death too easy. "Decisions about death require an open mind, not a tunnel vision in which the only outcome is death," said the spokesman.

The NVVE is seeking a partner to help finance the project. -- NRC.nl, Jan 20