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Dutch euthanasia on demented patient considered to be “not careful”

A doctor in the Netherlands was reprimanded for giving euthanasia to a dementia patient while it was not conclusively established that euthanasia was what the woman wanted at that time. The implementation of euthanasia was also traumatic, the Regional Review Committee concluded.

The patient in question is a woman around the age of 80 years, suffering from dementia so far advanced that her husband could no longer cope with the care she needed. She had to be placed in a home. While the woman was still lucid she indicated that she definitely did not want to end up in a “home for demented elderly”. She also stated in her will that she wanted euthanasia “when I myself find it the right time”.

To calm the woman down, the nursing home doctor gave her a first dose of sedative in a cup of coffee. A second dose was injected into her. She seemed to fall asleep. But when the infusion was inserted she “pulled back”, and while the doctor injected the euthanasia agent, she moved as if to get up. The doctor decided to continue while family members held the patient down. The woman died shortly afterwards.

Read a summary of  the official report of the Review Committee here (translation RJ)  Verdict (2016-85): not acted in accordance with the due care criteria

NB! The case has been reported to the Prosecutor and the Health Inspection, both have not yet given a reaction (Jan 30 2017, RJ)