Intended for healthcare professionals


Dutch GP cleared after helping to end man's “hopeless existence”

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 11 November 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:1174
  1. Tony Sheldon
  1. Utrecht

    Doctors in the Netherlands fear a legal test case has stretched the conditions under which euthanasia and assisted suicide may be practised. A court in Haarlem has accepted that an 86 year old man obsessed with his “physical decline” and “hopeless existence” was suffering “hopelessly and unbearably”—one of four criteria protecting doctors against prosecution.

    Though he had no serious physical or psychiatric illness, his GP was acquitted after helping him to commit suicide. The public prosecution service had called for the GP to be given a …

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