Euthanasia News & Commentary

Doctor found not guilty after euthanizing unwilling patient who struggled to resist lethal injection

A court in the Netherlands has acquitted a doctor accused of euthanizing an unwilling patient.

In the first-ever case of its kind, Dutch authorities accused the doctor of performing euthanasia on an unwilling patient after a regional review board found the doctor had “overstepped the mark” by euthanising a 74-year old woman whose final will was “unclear and contradictory.”

Prosecutors argued that although the woman, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, had regularly stated that she wanted to die and reportedly wrote a declaration four years earlier, she also said on other occasions that she did not want to die, which meant her final decision was unclear.

“The doctor should have checked with the woman whether she still had a death wish by discussing this with her,” a statement from the prosecutors said.

However, a court in The Hague ruled last week that it is not necessary to obtain confirmation of the request when a patient is no longer able to express his or her wishes. The judges also noted that the doctor did well not to ask the patient herself if she wanted to die as it might have caused “agitation.”

In her final moments, the elderly woman reportedly struggled with hospital staff and attempted to prevent the doctor from giving her the lethal injection.

Life Site News reports: “On the woman’s fateful day, Catherina A. [the doctor] gave the patient a sedative in her coffee – something the law does not provide for. Everything seemed to be going smoothly when the woman who was going to be put to death suddenly woke up, and seeing her doctor approaching with a syringe, began to struggle vigorously. Her husband and daughter came to the rescue to immobilize the demented woman, who was duly injected with lethal drugs and promptly died on April 22, 2016.”

When it comes to euthanasia, the slope is slippery indeed. As we’ve seen, time and time again, assisted suicide is always sold with temporary restrictions, until little by little, those restrictions are chipped away.

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