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Dutch prosecutors get tough on euthanasia

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: (Published 30 April 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1119
  1. Tony Sheldon
  1. Freelance Journalist, Utrecht.

    Evidence is emerging of a tougher prosecution policy against Dutch doctors who perform euthanasia in the aftermath of last November's law on euthanasia. The law left euthanasia a criminal act punishable by 12 years' imprisonment and made doctors legally obliged to report their actions. Yet the effect of the law was to permit euthanasia if it was carried out within strict guidelines.

    Since the law was implemented last November there has been a sharp increase in the number of doctors being investigated. Local prosecutors are now inquiring into 14 cases of euthanasia in 1993. By comparison, four cases were investigated in 1992 and one in 1991.

    In 12 of the current …

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