Why The Netherlands?

University of Haifa, Israel.
The Journal of Law Medicine &amp Ethics (Impact Factor: 1.1). 02/2002; 30(1):95-104. DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-720X.2002.tb00725.x
Source: PubMed


During the summer of 1999, twenty-eight interviews with some of the leading authorities on the euthanasia policy were conducted in the Netherlands. They were asked: Why the Netherlands? What are the reasons that prompted the Dutch to adopt their policy? This study first provides some background information on the practice of euthanasia and the legal framework and then reports the interviews' answers on the question: Why the Netherlands? Multiple reasons were mentioned: historical, social, cultural, religious and political as well as the pivotal importance of the local healthcare system. A complex combination of factors brought the Netherlands to adopt a very tolerant attitude regarding euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

Download full-text


Available from: Raphael Cohen-Almagor,
  • Source
    • "The legalisation of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in the Netherland is considered by many to be a social experiment [7], and people in many other countries keep a (sometimes critical) eye on Dutch practices and debates [8]. While several studies have provided reliable estimates about the frequency and characteristics of the practice of euthanasia in the Netherlands [9], this is the first study providing an overview of how euthanasia is described and debated in Dutch newspapers. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Netherlands is one of the few countries where euthanasia is legal under strict conditions. This study investigates whether Dutch newspaper articles use the term 'euthanasia' according to the legal definition and determines what arguments for and against euthanasia they contain. We did an electronic search of seven Dutch national newspapers between January 2009 and May 2010 and conducted a content analysis. Of the 284 articles containing the term 'euthanasia', 24% referred to practices outside the scope of the law, mostly relating to the forgoing of life-prolonging treatments and assistance in suicide by others than physicians. Of the articles with euthanasia as the main topic, 36% described euthanasia in the context of a terminally ill patient, 24% for older persons, 16% for persons with dementia, and 9% for persons with a psychiatric disorder. The most frequent arguments for euthanasia included the importance of self-determination and the fact that euthanasia contributes to a good death. The most frequent arguments opposing euthanasia were that suffering should instead be alleviated by better care, that providing euthanasia can be disturbing, and that society should protect the vulnerable. Of the newspaper articles, 24% uses the term 'euthanasia' for practices that are outside the scope of the euthanasia law. Typically, the more unusual cases are discussed. This might lead to misunderstandings between citizens and physicians. Despite the Dutch legalisation of euthanasia, the debate about its acceptability and boundaries is ongoing and both sides of the debate are clearly represented.
    BMC Medical Ethics 03/2013; 14(1):11. DOI:10.1186/1472-6939-14-11 · 1.50 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To clarify how lay people and health professionals judge the acceptability of ending the life of a terminally ill patient. Participants judged this acceptability in a set of 16 scenarios that combined four factors: the identity of the actor (patient or physician), the patient's statement or not of a desire to have his life ended, the nature of the action as relatively active (injecting a toxin) or passive (disconnecting life support), and the type of suffering (intractable physical pain, complete dependence, or severe psychiatric illness). 115 lay people and 72 health professionals (22 nurse's aides, 44 nurses, six physicians) in Toulouse, France. Main measurements: Mean acceptability ratings for each scenario for each group. Life ending interventions are more acceptable to lay people than to the health professionals. For both, acceptability is highest for intractable physical suffering; is higher when patients end their own lives than when physicians do so; and, when physicians are the actors, is higher when patients have expressed a desire to die (voluntary euthanasia) than when they have not (involuntary euthanasia). In contrast, when patients perform the action, acceptability for the lay people and nurse's aides does not depend on whether the patient has expressed a desire to die, while for the nurses and physicians unassisted suicide is more acceptable than physician assisted suicide. Lay participants judge the acceptability of life ending actions in largely the same way as do healthcare professionals.
    Journal of Medical Ethics 07/2005; 31(6):311-7. DOI:10.1136/jme.2004.008664 · 1.51 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To study the views of people in a largely Muslim country, Kuwait, of the acceptability of a life-ending action such as physician-assisted suicide (PAS). 330 Kuwaiti university students judged the acceptability of PAS in 36 scenarios composed of all combinations of four factors: the patient's age (35, 60 or 85 years); the level of incurability of the illness (completely incurable vs extremely difficult to cure); the type of suffering (extreme physical pain or complete dependence) and the extent to which the patient requests a life-ending procedure, euthanasia or PAS (no request, some form of request, repeated requests). In all scenarios, the patients were women who were receiving the best possible care. The ratings were subjected to cluster analysis and analyses of variance. Five clusters were found. For 44%, PAS was always very unacceptable, no matter what the circumstances. For 23%, it was unacceptable, but less so if the patient was older or requested it repeatedly. For 16%, it was unacceptable if the patient was young but was acceptable if the patient was elderly. For 5%, it was unacceptable if the patient had extreme pain but was acceptable if completely dependent. For 11%, it was unacceptable if the patient did not request it but acceptable if she did. The majority of the Kuwaiti university students opposed PAS either categorically or with a slight variation according to circumstances. Nonetheless, a minority approved of PAS in some cases, particularly when the patient was elderly.
    Journal of medical ethics 11/2010; 36(11):671-6. DOI:10.1136/jme.2010.036012 · 1.51 Impact Factor
Show more