In the Netherlands, a member of the Commission for Euthanasia Control has resigned in protest against the euthanasia of people with dementia. Ethicist Berna Van Baarsen deplores these situations, which are largely approved by the Commission. They concern patients who have made a written declaration of intent in advance, but were unable to confirm their wishes before the doctor caused their death: “This declaration in advance represents an intention. It cannot be assimilated to a person’s actual request. This is something really different,” explains the ethicist. Families often “insist on euthanasia for their loved ones”, but “this is not fair,” she insists because “a doctor cannot be certain of the intolerable nature of the pain and the intention to ask for euthanasia unless the patient makes the request himself/herself”. Refusing to accept that “an anticipated declaration replaces a currently non-existent verbal request”, Berna Van Baarsen has therefore resigned, following in the footsteps of a colleague on the Belgian Commission for Euthanasia Control (seeBelgium: resignation within the Commission for Euthanasia Control).
Institut européen de Bioéthique (12/01/2018)