News from Europe

Record number of euthanasia recorded in the Netherlands

Never before have so many people obtained legal euthanasia in the Netherlands as in 2021. No fewer than 7,666 patients were killed on demand, representing an increase of over 10 percent compared to 2020.


Last year, 4.5 percent of all deaths in the country (170,839) were due to euthanasia, according to the latest yearly report of the Regional Euthanasia Review Boards (RTE) — this proportion is also on the rise. In 2020, it was 4.1 percent.

The report was presented to the Netherlands Lower House on Thursday afternoon, and once again, the overwhelming majority of declared euthanasia acts that the regional boards systematically vet were deemed to meet the “strict” conditions set by the Dutch euthanasia law. Only seven instances of incorrect handling were identified and these will not give rise to prosecution.

These failures to comply with all the criteria were mostly related to insufficient “independence” of the external expert required to give an opinion before the act, or technicalities such as improper solving of difficulties regarding the euthanasia act itself, such as a doctor leaving the patient’s room to fetch an extra needle for the death jab.

The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia, and the law entered into effect twenty years ago on April 1, 2002.


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