Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The slippery slope gets even slipperier: Dutch doctors now want income level and loneliness to be factors in deciding whether euthanasia can be considered

The Dutch Physicians Association is hoping to further liberalize their euthanasia law to allow Dutch doctors to euthanize patients who are poor and lonely, since they believe being poor and lonely can mean a person has unbearable and lasting suffering.

Until now, factors such as income or a patient's social life played almost no role when physicians were considering a euthanasia request. However, the new guidelines will certainly change that. After almost a year of discussions, the KNMG has published a paper which says a combination of social factors and diseases and ailments that are not terminal may also qualify as unbearable and lasting suffering under the Euthanasia Act.

Some doctors want to go even further and allow patients who aren't terminally ill to be euthanized.

The physicians association says further investigation into non-medical factors is needed and Dr Nieuwenhuijzen Kruseman adds that euthanasia should be allowed even when a patient is not suffering from a terminal disease.