Dutch court clears doctor in landmark euthanasia trial

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By Associated Press  with NBC News World News
Dutch court clears doctor in landmark euthanasia trial

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — A Dutch court has acquitted a doctor in a landmark trial that prosecutors and physicians hope will help clarify how the country's 2002 euthanasia law can be applied to people with severe dementia.

The doctor was cleared of any wrongdoing in carrying out euthanasia three years ago on a 74-year-old woman, who was given fatal doses of drugs despite some indications she might have changed her mind since declaring in writing that she wanted euthanasia.

Judges at The Hague District Court ruled Wednesday that the doctor met all criteria for carrying out euthanasia under the Dutch law legalizing mercy killing by physicians.

The doctor was accused of not acting with due care because, prosecutors alleged, she made insufficient efforts to find out whether the patient still wanted to die.