Intended for healthcare professionals


Huibert Drion

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 13 May 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1204

Dutch Supreme Court judge who became a leading advocate of euthanasia

“It appears to me… that many old people would find great reassurance if they could have a means to end their lives in an acceptable way at the moment that to them… appears suitable.” It was with these words that Huib Drion, then a 74 year old former Supreme Court judge and professor of civil law, entered Dutch social history and became internationally renowned as a supporter of individual rights to suicide. Drion gave voice to a thread of Dutch opinion and sparked a debate that has outlived his death in his sleep at home in Leiden, apparently of natural causes, aged 86 on 20 April.

A learned lawyer, Drion was moved to write, almost as an intellectual exercise, after an elderly family member expressed concern at the prospect of ending her days in a nursing home. His article, “The self-chosen end for …

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