THE HAGUE (Reuters) – The Dutch prosecutors asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to regulate the case of a nursing home doctor who was cleared of injustice in relation to the euthanasia of the person suffering from elderly dementia, in order to gain clarity. how doctors should deal with incapacitated patients.
In a decision earlier this month, trial judges at the Hague District Court decided that the female patient explicitly requested earlier euthanasia in her disease and that the doctor had acted lawfully.
The doctor followed guidelines which required consultation with other doctors and the patient's family, and that the euthanasia application was made voluntarily, the judges.
By going directly to the Supreme Court, prosecutors took the extraordinary step during the appeal stage of the legal proceedings – which could lead to a penalty.
The Supreme Court will give an opinion setting a legal precedent.
“The prosecution wants to get clarity on how doctors should deal with euthanasia on incapacitated patients,” the prosecution said in a statement.
The trial focused on a 74-year-old woman, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease four years before her death.
The patient had been certified as saying that she wanted to make euthanasia if her condition was significantly worse. The doctor killed the mercy with the consent and support of the women's family, but the patient was no longer able to give her consent because of high dementia.
It is seen as a test for the legal limits of euthanasia in the Netherlands, where the killing of suicide and mercy is permitted by law under restricted conditions when supervised by medical professionals.
The conditions include that patients suffer inadmissible suffering without any hope, and expresses their wish to die when they remember.
Stephanie van den Berg to report; Edited by Anthony Deutsch and Alexandra Hudson
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