Death by Request in the Netherlands: Facts, the Legal Context and Effects on Physicians, Patients and Families
Kimsma, G K
Medicine, health care, and philosophy 2010 Nov; 13(4): 355-61
In this article I intend to describe an issue of the Dutch euthanasia practice that is not common knowledge. After some general introductory descriptions, by way of formulating a frame of reference, I shall describe the effects of this practice on patients, physicians and families, followed by a more philosophical reflection on the significance of these effects for the assessment of the authenticity of a request and the nature of unbearable suffering, two key concepts in the procedure towards euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide. This article does not focus on the arguments for or against euthanasia and the ethical justification of physician-assisted dying. These arguments have been described extensively in Kimsma and Van Leeuwen (Asking to die. Inside the Dutch debate about euthanasia, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 1998).
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