Netherlands: euthanasia cases still on the rise

The annual report from the regional euthanasia surveillance committees in the Netherlands for 2015 was published last week. This report reveals that 5,516 individuals died from euthanasia or assisted suicide, thus 4% of the 147,010 deaths registered for that year.

Since legalized in 2001, when the Netherlands was the first country to decriminalize this practice, the number of euthanasia cases has been on the rise. Whereas in 2003 there were 1800 cases of euthanasia, this number increased to 3136 in 2010 (+74%) and to 5516 in 2015, thus an increase of 76% compared to 2010 and of 206% compared to 2003!

The report mentions a «significant increase in the cases of euthanasia reported from patients with dementia or psychiatric problems” with 165 cases noted in 2015 compared to 122 cases in 2014.

Another study, published by JAMA Psychiatry, lists 66 cases of assisted suicides between 2011 and 2014, primarily for patients suffering from psychiatric illnesses. The most common diagnosis was depression (55 % of the cases).

A report studying the case of individuals considering themselves as “tired of living” was submitted to the government last February, which concluded that euthanasia should not be extended for situations of this kind.

Furthermore, while euthanasia in the Netherlands can be practiced on minors starting at age 12, the Health Minister in Holland has just ordered a study to examine the possibility of extending this law to infants from 1 to 12 years old (babies under 1 year old can already be subjected to euthanasia with the parent’s consent).

All of these « extensions» of the law, current or forthcoming, prove the serious breach arising from this country’s mentality regarding euthanasia.