Netherlands review committee says euthanasia on woman with dementia was done in “good faith”

Elderly woman said, “I don’t want to die”

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A Netherlands Regional euthanasia Review Committee has decided that a forced euthanasia done on a woman with dementia, where the doctor sedated the woman by secretly putting the drugs in her coffee, was done in “good faith.”

The elderly woman reportedly said several times, “’I don’t want to die’ in the days before she was put to death,” according to Guilia Crouch, reporting for the Daily Mail,  “The shocking case was referred to the so-called Regional Review Committee in the Netherlands which admitted that while the case involved some irregularities that merited a reprimand, the female doctor had effectively acted in good faith.”

Crouch added that the committee chair, Jacob Kohnstamm, “said he was in favour of a trial: ‘Not to punish the doctor, who acted in good faith and did what she had to do, but to get judicial clarity over what powers a doctor has when it comes to the euthanasia of patients suffering from severe dementia.’”

Crouch explained the details of the case:

The doctor secretly placed a soporific in her coffee to calm her, and then had started to give her a lethal injection.

Yet while injecting the woman she woke up, and fought the doctor. The paperwork showed that the only way the doctor could complete the injection was by getting family members to help restrain her.

It (the paperwork) also revealed that the patient said several times ‘I don’t want to die’ in the days before she was put to death, and that the doctor had not spoken to her about what was planned because she did not want to cause unnecessary extra distress. She also did not tell her about what was in her coffee as it was also likely to cause further disruptions to the planned euthanasia process.

Janene Pieters reporting for The Netherlands Times, wrote

The review committee determined that the woman’s declaration in her will did not clearly state that she wanted to be euthanized after being admitted to a nursing home. The words “when I myself find it the right time” does not take into account a situation in which the woman was no longer mentally competent. The committee can understand how the doctor read it as a well-considered wish, but still feels that it was too broad an interpretation.

The committee also concluded that the doctor “crossed a line” by giving the woman the first dose of sedative secretly–hidden in a cup of coffee. And that the doctor should have stopped at the woman’s movements at the end. Even though it is possible that the movements were purely physical reactions, it cannot be certain.

As noted Kohnstamm wants the case brought to court to create a precedent to enable other doctors to lethally inject people with dementia, without consent, and without fear of legal repercussions.

So let’s examine the facts surrounding this death by lethal injection:

  • The woman had dementia and was incapable of asking for euthanasia,
  • The declaration in her will was not clear,
  • She stated several times that she did not want to die,
  • She was not informed that a sedative was put in her coffee,
  • Her family was required to hold her down so the doctor could lethally inject her.
  • The Regional Review Committee found that it was done in “good faith.”
  • The Regional Review Committee wants the court hear the case to set a precedent approving the lethal injection of people with dementia, who cannot consent.

As I have said in the past, euthanasia is out-of-control in the Netherlands.

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Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.

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