May 20, 2024

Coronavirus forces closure of Dutch euthanasia clinic

Euthanasia care is not a top priority in health care

The only specialised euthanasia clinic in the Netherlands has closed its doors during the coronavirus pandemic. The Euthanasia Expertise Center, formerly known as the End of Life Clinic (Levenseindekliniek), is located in The Hague and provides counselling and euthanasia services for patients whose GPs refuse to authorise euthanasia.

According to its website, “In the interest of public health, our patients, their loved ones and employees of the expertise center, it is no longer responsible to continue our current care provision.”

No new patients will be admitted and care for current patients has been suspended. If a euthanasia has already been organised, it will proceed, provided that “the group of attendees is limited to those who are absolutely necessary”.

It is difficult to admit, says the Center, but “euthanasia care is not a top priority in health care. The risk of infection is high and the expertise centre employs ambulatory doctors and nurses who also work elsewhere.” Restrictions will continue until April 6.

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge

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