Incidence of euthanasia in the Netherlands falls as that of palliative sedation rises

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 24 May 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1075
  1. Tony Sheldon
  1. Utrecht

    Five years after it was legalised, euthanasia in the Netherlands seems to be declining in favour of palliative sedation, whereby terminally ill patients are kept in a coma while decisions that may shorten their lives are made, such as withdrawal of fluids.

    Now the euthanasia lobby and MPs are warning that palliative sedation, which does not involve the same reporting obligations as euthanasia does, must never become a convenient “short cut” to ending the life of someone who is dying.

    New government sponsored research that evaluated the effect of the 2002 euthanasia law shows that the number of cases of euthanasia fell from 3500 (2.6% of deaths) in …

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