Tag Archives: Cardinal William Eijk

Netherlands Supreme Court: Dementia patients can be euthanized against their will

How “progressive” and humane of The Netherlands . . . .

In 2001, The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia, euphemistically called “assisted suicide”. Since the legalization, Netherlands has been on a slippery slope, with ever-expanding euthanasia laws.

Sixteen years later, by 2017, euthanasia had become a common way to die, accounting for 4.5% of deaths in The Netherlands, increasingly from people who weren’t terminally ill. (CBS News)

Bridget Sielicki reports for Live Action News that on April 21, 2020, a Dutch Supreme court ruling now enables doctors to euthanize a dementia patient provided the patient has submitted a written request in advance, and even if the patient later changes his/her mind.

The Dutch Supreme Court said in a statement:

“A doctor may respond to a written request for granting euthanasia to people with advanced dementia. In such a situation, all legal requirements for euthanasia must be met, including the requirement that there is hopeless and unbearable suffering. The doctor is then not punishable. Even if it is clear that the request is intended for the situation of advanced dementia, and that situation is reached so that the patient is no longer able to form and express a will, there can be circumstances where no follow-up on the request is possible.”

The Dutch court’s ruling follows a landmark court case in which a doctor euthanized a woman with a severe case with dementia. The woman had written an advanced directive requesting euthanasia should she be placed in a nursing home and she felt the time was “right.” Although the woman later wavered and refused to give her consent to be euthanized, her doctor went ahead with killing her, as she was held down by her family members. The doctor was acquitted of murder following a trial.

Cardinal William Eijk, president of the Bishops’ Conference of the Netherlands, decried the court’s latest ruling saying it. He told Catholic News Service the ruling will make easier for doctors to take the lives of their most vulnerable patients, and put more pressure on doctors to commit euthanasia:

“One may fear that the Supreme Court’s judgment, though making physicians perhaps more uncertain in performing euthanasia in patients with advanced dementia, will not lead in general to a decrease of the number of cases of euthanasia and medically assisted suicide. Physicians of nursing homes therefore fear that they will be put under pressure by patients with dementia and their relatives to perform euthanasia as a consequence of the Supreme Court’s judgment.”

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