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More people opt to use assisted dying laws for greater variety of reasons

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h4332 (Published 11 August 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4332
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

More people in Belgium and the Netherlands are ending their lives by voluntary euthanasia, and their reasons are widening, a series of papers published in JAMA Internal Medicine shows.

Belgium legalised voluntary euthanasia in 2000, and from 2007 to 2013 the proportion of people ending their lives in this way in Flanders, the Dutch speaking part of the country, increased from 1.9% to 4.6% (1 in 22) of all deaths.1 Meanwhile, 1 in 30 people who died in the Netherlands in 2012 died by euthanasia—roughly three times as many as in 2002, when the practice was made legal.2

In one study researchers surveyed a random sample of doctors who recorded deaths in Flanders in 2007 or 2013. Throughout those six years more people requested euthanasia, and the proportion successfully doing so increased from around half to three quarters.3

The most pronounced …

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