Thursday, November 10, 2011
Yesterday, it was revealed that a 64-year-old Dutch woman with severe dementia has become the first patient in the country to be euthanized after she became unable to consent. In the Netherlands, patients can request assisted dying if they are of sound mind. In this case, the woman — who is known to have been a long-time political supporter of assisted dying — signed a request for assisted dying while she was capable of doing so.
The woman was assisted to die in March according to Walburg de Jong, a spokesman for Right to Die-NL, a group that supports assisted dying. De Jong noted that it is an “important step” for euthanasia activists: “before, patients dying by euthanasia were at really very early stages of dementia, which was not the case with this woman”.
The Netherlands has had legal voluntary euthanasia since a change in the law which came into force in April 2002.