This week, the annual report of the Dutch RTE (Regional euthanasia review committees) was published.
The numbers show a light increase of cases. In 2016, 6091 cases were reported, which makes 4% of all deaths that year. In 2015 this was 3,75% of all deaths.
Of the total, 87% of assisted deaths involved people with cancer, serious heart or lung problems or diseases of the nervous system such as ALS. There were 32 more cases of assisted suicide involving people with dementia, most of whom were in the early stages of the disease. 60 cases involved people with severe psychiatric problems, a rise of four on 2015.
Most of the euthanasia cases were performed by GP’s (85%). The review committee reported 10 cases in which the due criteria weren’t met.
In the Netherlands, assisted suicide and assisted dying is legal under conditions. The request must be voluntary, lasting and well-considered. Besides that, the physician must be convinced that the patient is experiencing unbearable suffering without prospect of improvement.
The increase could be explained by the changing demographics of the Netherlands. Also, the change of attitude amongst doctors could explain the rise in cases. The report shows that the practice in the Netherlands is transparant and thoroughful, stated the review comittee chairman Jacob Kohnstamm.
Below the data for 2016 (compared to 2015). It shows who carried out the request, the nature of the condition and where the assistance in dying was carried out.
The full report (in Dutch) can be found here. An English translation will be published later.