Dutch hospitals face up to living wills

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 14 January 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:82

Dutch hospitals, including Amsterdam's prestigious Academic Medical Centre, plan to ask patients on admission whether they have drawn up a living will containing conditions under which they wish to be allowed to die. The move follows last year's patients' rights law, which comes into effect in April, whereby doctors are bound to recognise patients' wishes written down in a living will.

It also reflects an increasing consensus among the Dutch that patients should be able to make their own decisions concerning the end of their lives. Hospital surgeons report that living wills are becoming increasingly common, along with donor cards, which are now carried by one in five …

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