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Dutch patients complain about poor access to euthanasia

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 19 October 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:961

Doctors and hospitals in the Netherlands are still reluctant to consider patients' requests for euthanasia, according to a survey by the Dutch Voluntary Euthanasia Society (NVVE).

Doctors practising euthanasia theoretically face criminal prosecution, but in practice charges are dropped if certain guidelines are followed. These state that the patient must make an informed, persistent, and voluntary request; the patient must be suffering unbearably and hopelessly with no alternative treatment available; and a second opinion must be sought.

The society says that the survey will counterbalance the national review of euthanasia policy ordered by the ministries of health and justice, which …

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