Criteria for Euthanasia in the N





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Criteria for Euthanasia in the Netherlands


Guidelines for the attending physician in reporting euthanasia to the municipal pathologist in the Netherlands.[1]


The following list of points is intended as a guideline in reporting euthanasia or assistance provided to a patient in taking his or her own life to the municipal pathologist. A full written report supplying motives for your action is required.


I.                   CASE HISTORY

A.                 What was the nature of the illness and what was the main diagnosis?

B.                 How long has the patient being suffering from the illness?

C.                 What was the nature of the medical treatment provided (medication, curative, surgical, etc)?

D.                 Please provide the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the attending physicians. What was their diagnosis?

E.                  Was the patient’s mental and/or physical suffering so great that he or she perceived it, or could perceived it, to be unbearable?

F.                  Was the situation at the end such that the prognosis was increasing lack of dignity for the patient and/or such as to exacerbate suffering which the patient already experienced as unbearable?

1.                  Was the situation at the end such that the prognosis was increasing lack of dignity for the patient and/or such as to exacerbate suffering which the patient already experienced as unbearable?

2.                  Was there no longer any prospect of the patient being able to die with dignity?

3.                  When in your opinion would the patient have died if euthanasia had not been performed?

G.                 What measures, if any, did you consider or use to prevent the patient experiencing his/her suffering as unbearable (was there indeed any possibility of alleviating the suffering) and did you discuss these with the patient?



A.                 Did the patient of his/her own free will make a very explicit and deliberate request for euthanasia to be performed:

1.                  on the basis of adequate information which you have provided on the course of the illness and the method of terminating life, and

2.                  after discussion of the measures referred to at 1G?

B.                 If the patient made such a request, when and to whom was it made? Who else was present at the time?

C.                 Is there a living will? If so, please pass this on to the municipal pathologist.

D.                 At the time of the request was the patient fully aware of the consequences thereof and of his/her physical and mental condition? What evidence of this can you provide?

E.                  Did the patient consider options other than euthanasia? If so, which options and if not, why not?

F.                  Could anyone else have influenced either the patient or you in the decision? If so, how did this manifest itself?



A.                 Did you consult another doctor? If so, please supply all the names, addresses and telephone numbers. If you consulted more than one colleague, please supply all the names, addresses and telephones numbers.

B.                 What conclusions did the other doctor(s) reach, at least with respect to questions 1F and 1G?

C.                 Did this doctor/these doctors see the patient? If so, on what date? If not, on what were his/her/their conclusions based?


IV.              EUTHANASIA

A.                 Who performed the euthanasia and how?

B.                 Did the person concerned obtain information on the method used in advance? If so, where and from whom?

C.                 Was it reasonable to expect that the administration of the euthanasia-inducing agent in question will result in death?

D.                 Who was present when euthanasia was performed? Please supply names, addresses and telephone numbers.







[1] Humphry, Derek, Lawful Exit:The Limits of Freedom for Help in Dying (New York :Norris Lane Press, 1993)


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