A mobile euthanasia service has begun operating in the Netherlands. It is intended for people with incurable illnesses whose own doctors refuse to help them end their lives. The Termination of Life Clinic says there are many reasons why people might turn to them for assistance.
Spokesman Jan Suyver said: “You can imagine that some doctors won’t commit euthanasia for reasons of principle. But others may change their minds at the last moment, or there will be some who don’t have any experience of it. There will also be those who may fear legal consequences and who don’t want to have to answer for their actions later.”
The service is offered free of charge to those who can satisfy very rigorous criteria. It has opened a fierce debate in the Netherlands, particularly in the medical profession.
Arie Nieuwenhuijzen Kruseman of the KNMG medical association said: “We think that euthanasia is a subject that patients should discuss with their own doctor, the one with whom they have already a longterm relationship and who is accompanying them in the course of their disease.”
It is thought up to 3,000 so-called mercy killings are carried out each year in the Netherlands, which is considered to have the most liberal euthanasia legislation in the world.