Doctors should be allowed to kill patients who are "suffering through living", the Royal Dutch Medical Association has recommended after a three-year inquiry. It could find no good reason to exclude suffering from living" from the list of motives for legal euthanasia. At the moment, doctors must follow a 2002 ruling from the Dutch Supreme Court that only a "classifiable physical or mental condition" constitutes the "hopeless and unbearable suffering" which can justify a case of legal euthanasia.
The report argues that the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the law is simplistic. It is "an illusion", it says, to contend that the suffering of a patient can be "unambiguously measured according to his illness". The emeritus professor of clinical psychology who led the report, Dr Jos Dijkhuis, denied that Dutch doctors would agree to a request for euthanasia from a patient who was simply tired of living. His committee believes that "suffering through living" is real suffering which involves a range of physical and mental ailments. In about half of the cases studied Dr Dijkhuis said that there had been no "classifiable disease". "We see a doctor’s task is to reduce suffering; therefore we can’t exclude these cases in advance," he argues.
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