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Netherlands euthanasia trial seeks answer on what to do with dementia patients

Netherlands euthanasia trial seeks answer on what to do with dementia patients
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A landmark euthanasia trial in the Netherlands is trying to find an answer on what to do with dementia patients who may have previously stated their wish to die under certain circumstances but then might have changed their minds.

The trial, which started on Monday, focuses on the case of a 74-year-old woman who was euthanised three years ago despite some indications she might have changed her mind.

The doctor in the case is accused of not trying hard enough to find out whether the patient still wanted to die or not — which would be considered a breach of the Dutch euthanasia law.

But the prosecution is not looking for a penal sentence against the doctor, instead, they're trying to find a better legal framework for the future.

"The careless was based on a misinterpretation of the law in this case. The law was still unclear. There is no clear standard to be found about the (euthanasia) proceedings that would have (legal) grounds and validity of a written advance will of these demented and partially demented patients," said public prosecutor Thijs Berger.

This is the first case of its nature since the Netherlands legalised euthanasia in 2002.

The outcome of the case will be announced in two week's time.

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