Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 68(2) May 2018


Euthanasia regulator resigns.

A Dutch euthanasia regulator quit her post in January  2018 in protest at the killings of patients suffering from dementia.  The Catholic Herald observed that the number of dementia patients killed by euthanasia has risen fourfold over the past five years.

Berna van Baarsen, a medical ethicist, said she could not support "a major shift" in the interpretation of her country’s euthanasia law to endorse lethal injections for increasing numbers of dementia patients: "I do not believe that a written declaration of intent can replace an oral request for incapacitated patients with advanced dementia."

Van Baarsen's resignation follows that of ethicist Theo Boer in 2014. Mr Boer has become a harsh critic of the Dutch euthanasia system, warning British parliamentarians not to follow the Dutch example and to vote against Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill in 2014.

In the Netherlands, euthanasia is also a legal option for children (ages 12 – 18) with parental permission and to newborns, who are younger than one, based on the “Groningen Protocol.”

"I have seen a major shift in the interpretation of this article in recent years. I cannot support that," Miss van Baarsen said.