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Facts on Euthanasia in the Netherlands


For a euthanasia process to move forward, four criteria must be met:

1. The patient must have done a voluntary, well informed and carefully considered request, either directly or by a will.

2. The suffering of the patient, physical or mental, must be judged hopeless and unbearable.

3. There are no reasonable alternatives to ease the suffering.

4. The doctor must consult with at least one other independent physician.

(Source: Swedish Läkartidningen, translation Inger Alestig)

Euthanasia and assisted suicide:

Euthanasia= when a doctor gives the patient a lethal dose of tranquilizer.

Assisted suicide= the doctor gives the patient a lethal dose of tranquilizer, but the patient himself/herself begets it.

The terms ´passive euthanasia,´ ´palliative sedation,´ and ´terminal sedation´ are also in use.

Those terms can have different meanings in different settings. However, `passive euthanasia` is often used to describe lack of treatment to uphold the patient´s life, and the other terms describe giving a patient enough tranquilizers that the patient sleeps until death occurs.

Organizations and political parties in the Netherlands:

NVVE – Nederlandse Vereniging voor een Vrijwillig Levenseinde has 166 000 members and

150 volunteers. NVVE has a Clinic in Amsterdam and a mobile team in den Haag, which has 44 mobile teams that can be sent anywhere in the country to carry out a patient´s wish to end their life.

NPV – a Christian Patient´s Organzation. NPV started 30 years ago, and it has members all over the Netherlands, organized locally. NPV´s motto is “Care for life.”

D66 – a liberal political party. Personal independence and freedom of choice characterize D66.

Christian Union – a conservative, Christian party. The party brings together both Catholics and Protestants.

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