A doctor is under criminal investigation after allegedly carrying out euthanasia on a 74-year-old dementia sufferer, despite her showing resistance.
It’s claimed the woman initially refused a cup of coffee which contained a sedative, prompting the medical professional to ask the woman’s husband and daughter to hold her down so they could insert a drip to administer the lethal injection.
According to The Telegraph and multiple other reports, the Dutch medical complaints board reprimanded the doctor over the claims. Now, the chief public prosecutor in that area of the Netherlands is examining if there are grounds for criminal charges.
If a prosecution is launched, it would be the first of its kind since Dutch laws on euthanasia were passed in 2002.
Laws were further relaxed in 2016 to allow doctors to administer a lethal injection to a dementia sufferer if they have signed a euthanasia declaration under the supervision of their family doctor, before their condition deteriorated.
In this case, the patient was previously placed in a nursing home when her condition became worse, an official report by the Regional Euthanasia Review Committees stated. She had made a living will five years earlier saying she didn’t want to be put in a home and wanted to choose when she would die. However, this was not a formal euthanasia declaration.
She became stressed and upset in the home, often wandering around looking for her husband, and before she moved there had repeatedly expressed her wish to die.
Now, the Dutch medical complaints board has claimed her will was contradictory, as while she said she wanted to die on some days, on others she did not.
The official report has claimed a sedative was put into her coffee without first being discussed with her, a direct breach of rules. Meanwhile, it’s claimed the doctor – who is appealing the ruling – inserted the drip despite her showing resistance, while asking her family to hold her down – another potential breach of rules.
The debate over euthanasia laws in Australia fired back up again recently when Australia’s oldest scientist, Dr David Goodall, chose to fly to Switzerland to end his life.
“I greatly regret having reached that age,” the renowned scientist told the ABC at the time. “I’m not happy. I want to die. It’s not sad particularly. What is sad is if one is prevented. If one choose to kills oneself, then that should be fair enough. I don’t think anyone else should interfere.”
Western Australia is in the process of passing a law to make voluntary euthanasia legal, but Premier Mark McGowan previously confirmed it would only apply to people who are terminally ill. Victoria voted to make euthanasia legal last year, but it is also only available to those who are terminally ill.