July 1, 2022

Euthanasia in the courts

  • The Dutch Medical Association has begun talks with public prosecutors over the issues underlying the collapse of a murder case against an anaesthetist who gave a 77-year-old man “terminal sedation”. The doctor spent nine days in jail before being charged with murder. The prosecutors were using him as a test case “to be sure where the border lies in the grey area between euthanasia and palliative pain relief.” This strategy failed spectacularly when a lower court ruled that he had not intended to accelerate the patient’s death and the appeal court tossed the case out immediately. The current talks will try to clarify the question of when pain relief becomes murder.