Netherlands euthanasia report: 9% more deaths in 2020

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition 

Senay Boztas reported for the that there were more euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands in 2020 than ever before. 

According to the Netherlands euthanasia report there were 6,938 reported euthanasia deaths in 2020 up by 9% from 6,361 in 2019. Boztas reported:

All but two of these were judged to have met the six legal requirements…

The number of euthanasia cases exceeds the previous peak of 2017, when there were 6585 deaths. Numbers fell after a doctor was prosecuted but eventually found not guilty of manslaugher for a controversial procedure involving a woman with advanced dementia.

This confirms what I wrote in 2019:

I am convinced that the lower number of reported euthanasia deaths is primarily related to the euthanasia cases that are being prosecuted in the Netherlands and Belgium. Doctors simply don’t want to be brought before a tribunal or court to justify why they lethally injected a patient. 

Boztas reported that Jeroen Recourt, the chairman of the euthanasia commission,  was not surprised by this growth.

The data indicated that four euthanasia deaths were connected to the Coronavirus. Boztas also reported that: 

As in previous years, dementia was a factor in 2% of the deaths, and psychiatric disorders represented just over 1%. The vast majority of people had terminal cancer, and just two people had advanced dementia.

The Expertisecentrum Euthanasie, formerly called the End of Life Clinic, did however deal with 221 fewer requests than in the previous year, according to its annual report. The body is an option for people whose GP cannot or will not grant a request, or to support complex cases, and last year it was involved with 899 euthanasia procedures.

The Netherlands government announced last year that they intend to extend a form of euthanasia to children under the age of 12 and that they are considering expanding the law to include people who have no medical issues but who are “tired of living.”

Editor’s note. This was reposted on the blog of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and reposted with Mr. Schadenberg’s permission.