Intended for healthcare professionals


Assisted dying: Belgian doctors stand trial in landmark case

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 22 January 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m259
  1. Rory Watson
  1. Brussels

Three Belgian doctors—two GPs and a psychiatrist—are being accused of unlawfully killing a 38 year old patient by poisoning almost 10 years ago, in the country’s first criminal case involving assisted dying.

The high profile trial is focusing on the conditions in the 2002 legislation that must be fulfilled before a request for assisted dying can be acted on. It is also revealing possible gaps in the law and the many emotions that patients, their families, and medical professionals may feel when involved in such a procedure.

After several suicide attempts and with severe psychiatric problems and a broken relationship, …

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