In the Netherlands where euthanasia has been legal since 2002, one clinic, Levenseindekliniek, – the end-of-life clinic – is about to be investigated for the second time in four months. In the most recent case, the clinic helped an elderly woman to die because she did not want to live in a specialist nursing home.
This clinic is the subject of controversy because it was set up to respond to the demands of patients whose doctors refused to carry out euthanasia. According to the Dutch Euthanasia Control Committee, the clinic has failed to comply with official directives governing euthanasia.
In the case outlined above, the woman was 80 years old and was partly paralysed following a stroke. She stated that she did not want to live in a nursing home. However, according to Dutch law, euthanasia can only be carried out in the event of “intolerable suffering“. Thus, the Control Committee is pursuing medical arbitration: “the doctor only focused on the fact that the patient was in a care home“. In his defence, Clinic Director, Steven Pleiter, explained: “If we have the slightest doubt regarding a request for euthanasia, we do not go any further“.
The Dutch authorities are considering taking action against the clinic – the first criminal proceedings since euthanasia became legal in the Netherlands.