Intended for healthcare professionals


Only doctors can carry out euthanasia in the Netherlands, ruling confirms

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 09 June 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2319
  1. Tony Sheldon
  1. 1Utrecht

    The chairman of a Dutch suicide support group has been given a prison sentence and his organisation fined in a test ruling that highlights that doctors alone can assist suicide in the Netherlands.

    Gerard Schellekens, of the Foundation for a Voluntary Life (SVL), helped an 80 year old woman, who was bedridden with advanced Parkinson’s disease commit suicide after the GP at her nursing home refused euthanasia.

    The family of Mrs Co de Jong had contacted Mr Schellekens for help after her doctor judged that she was not suffering hopelessly and unbearably—requirements for euthanasia under Dutch law.

    The prosecution said …

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