Discontent of psychiatrists faced with euthanasia in the Netherlands

Publié le 18 Dec, 2017

In the Netherlands, two psychiatrists “concerned about the practice of euthanasia on individuals presenting with psychiatric disorders” have started a petition to obtain the signatures of other psychiatrists who are also worried about the situation.


For Bram De Bakker and Esther van Fenam, the trigger factor was a television programme on the “LEK” end of life clinic. In this clinic, psychiatric patients have allegedly been given euthanasia  “without any attempt to treat them despite the increasingly large arsenal of new treatments currently available”. Sixty psychiatric patients were given euthanasia in 2016, “48 of them by LEK”. Furthermore, “these questionable cases of euthanasia have always been deemed compliant by the RTE Control Committee [responsible for evaluating euthanasia cases], with the exception of one”. Doesn’t this suggest “flexible interpretation of the law?”


For the Director of LEK “the high number of euthanasia procedures carried out is not due to a lowering of the euthanasia admissibility threshold, but to an increase in demand”. However, the petition “highlights genuine discontent since over 60% of Dutch psychiatrists reiterated this year their reluctance to perform euthanasia”.

Institut Européen de Bioéthique (1/12/2017)

Photo: Pixabay / DR

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