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Philip Nitschke speaks of Dutch Dementia case on Al Jazeera ‘New Hour’ Exit International

September 12, 2019

Assisted Suicide becoming very common

Exit International has welcomed the verdict in the criminal case today in the Hague which found a doctor not guilty of the assisted suicide of a woman with severe dementia.

Speaking from Amsterdam, Director of Exit International , Dr Philip Nitschke, said it was a common sense verdict for the court to find that the doctor had not only acted in good faith, but that she had abided by the wishes of her patient, as she had expressed them some four years earlier.

‘As in other countries where voluntary euthanasia is legal, dementia remains a vexed issue’ he said.

‘On the one hand, under Dutch law, a person can make a living will where they are able to request euthanasia should they lose capacity.

‘On the other hand, Dutch doctors remain, for obvious reasons, very hesitant to act on such instructions.

‘In the verdict today, the Judges’ decision reflects the pragmatism of Dutch society more broadly.

‘If a person prior to developing dementia expresses in writing a well-considered and sustained wish to be assisted to die, then they should be lawfully able to receive such assistance.

Far from being out of control, the Dutch have orchestrated a law of voluntary euthanasia that is both compassionate and pragmatic.

‘I fully understand that this woman did not want to spend her last years as a vegetable in a nursing home.

‘I fully support her right to choose and the doctor’s right to help her in this quest.

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