Mobile euthanasia squads launched in the Netherlands

Six euthanasia flying squads of a doctor and a nurse will begin making house calls in the Netherlands on March 1. The teams will visit people who want to end their lives but whose wishes have been thwarted by another doctor who refuses to take their request seriously or who is simply unwilling to do it.

The local right-to-die association, the NVVE, will also open an “end-of-life clinic” in the Hague on March 1 for people who cannot be euthanased at home. The clinic should be fully operational from the middle of the year.

The latest development in the controversial history of euthanasia comes almost exactly 10 years after it became legal in the Netherlands on April 1, 2002. The NVVE is also sponsoring a film festival to celebrate the occasion.

According to Radio Netherlands, with these new arrangements, the NVVE expects to add another 1,000 euthanasia deaths a year to the nearly 3,000 deaths which are officially reported each year. The NVVE stresses that the clients for its home delivery euthanasia service will not be allowed to make hasty or rash decisions and that the euthanasia team will follow Dutch guidelines carefully.

In the past, most euthanasia cases in the Netherlands have involved cancer patients who are suffering unbearably. However, the NVVE is currently welcoming people in the early stages of dementia and people who are suffering from chronic psychiatric problems. This is allowed under current legislation.

An FAQ in the end-of-life clinic’s website explains how the system works. Apart from the seriously ill, the demented, and psychiatric patients, it also caters for people who desire appropriate comfort care while they are being terminally sedated because they feel that their life is “complete”. Donations to the clinic are tax-deductible. The NVVE stresses that the funds will not be wasted on lavish expenses and cars. ~ Radio Netherlands, Feb 6; London Telegraph, Feb 10

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