We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to improve and customise your experience, where applicable. Click OK to use our website.

Euthanasia doctor cleared of wrongdoing by Dutch court

12 Sep 2019 / human rights Print

Judgment clears euthanasia doctor of wrongdoing

A Dutch court has cleared of wrongdoing a doctor who failed to verify consent before euthanising a 74-year-old dementia patient.

Judge Mariette Renckens said at a court in The Hague on Wednesday that "all requirements of the euthanasia legislation" had been met.


"Therefore, the suspect is acquitted of all charges," the judge said.

The patient, who was euthanised in 2016, had said she would like to choose the time of her death.


The prosecution argued that the doctor broke the law by failing to confirm the woman’s consent, and to confirm that she had not changed her mind. Prosecutors also said a more intensive discussion could have taken place.

The patient was sedated and her family held her down while the lethal dose was administered.

The court ruled that not euthanising the patient would have undermined her wishes. The woman was in an advanced state of dementia at the time of her death and could no longer have understood what the word euthanasia meant.

The patient had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease four years previously. Upon diagnosis, she expressed the desire to be euthanised before she entered a care home.


On the day the patient was euthanised, a sedative was put in her coffee and she passed out.

However, she then regained consciousness and had to be held down by family members as the lethal dose was administered.

The Netherlands legalised euthanasia in 2002.



Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland