In the Netherlands, euthanasia and assisted suicide are both (and still) criminal acts according to the Dutch Penal Code. Since 2001, a physician is no longer punishable for such an act when he performes it according to the due care criteria of the Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide Act. Patients in the Netherlands have the right to refuse treatment and physicians can be blamed for non respecting this right. When a physician thinks that treatment is no longer in the interest of a patient, the physician is allowed to stop the treatment (independent of what the family thinks). When a patient cannot be cured, palliatieve care is seen as good medical practice. When the life expectancy of a patient is less than 2 weeks and the patient is suffering unbearably, the physician is allowed to sedate the patient till he dies.
In the Netherlands, euthanasia and assisted suicide are both (and still) criminal acts according to the Dutch Penal Code (article 293 and article 294).
Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act (2001)
The Law on the Termination of life on request and assisted suicide contains the requirements of due care, referred to in Article 293 second paragraph of the Penal Code.
These requirements mean that the physician:
- holds the conviction that the request by the patient was voluntary and well-considered,
- holds the conviction that the patient’s suffering was lasting and unbearable,
- has informed the patient about the situation he was in and about his prospects,
- and the patient hold the conviction that there was no other reasonable solution for the situation he was in,
- has consulted at least one other, independent physician who has seen the patient and has given his written opinion on the requirements of due care, referred to in parts 1 – 4, and
- has terminated a life or assisted in a suicide with due care.
The Dutch Constitution and Patients Rights
Under the Dutch Constitution (articles 10 & 11), every person is protected against violation of its physical integrity. This principle works through in the relationship between a patient and its physician and is codified in article 7:450 of the Dutch Civil code. This article stipulates that a physician needs the informed consent of a patient in order to be allowed to perform medical treatments.
The Dutch Right to Die Society NVVE published its fourth and last Relevant of 2020 (Dutch only). We also translated it (via Google Translate) into English:
This november, the Dutch regional euthanasia review committees (RTE) have brought their Euthanasia Code 2018 (EC 2018) in line with a judgment of the Supreme