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Two test cases in Holland clarify law on murder and palliative care

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 20 November 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:1206
  1. Tony Sheldon
  1. Utrecht

    Legal judgments in two test cases against doctors in the Netherlands accused of killing their dying comatose patients have clarified the differences between palliative care and murder.

    In the first case, which has lasted seven years, the Supreme Court finally rejected a doctor's appeal against a charge of murder. The court said that the dose of 50 mg of the anaesthetic drug alcuronium chloride (Alloferin) he gave his patient could not be considered a form of palliative care. Neither was it euthanasia, as the patient had not made a request to die. The appeal had been made by Amsterdam GP Wilfred van Oijen, who appeared in a 1994 …

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