Dutch court rules on nurses' role in euthanasia

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 07 October 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:895
  1. TONY SHELDON, freelance journalist
  1. Utrecht

    In a legal test case a Dutch appeal court has accepted that there may be exceptional circumstances in which nurses can help doctors to carry out euthanasia without facing prosecution. But the ruling, supported by the justice minister, Winnie Sorgdrager, rules out the possiblity that nurses can act as the “extended arm” of doctors.

    The ruling states that nurses cannot, for example, give lethal injections under instructions. Euthanasia must from the beginning to the end remain in the hands of doctors, who are advised to choose a single action that they can carry …

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