Formally reprimanded, eh?

A doctor has been formally reprimanded by the Dutch medical complaints board for carrying out euthanasia on a 74-year-old woman with dementia, despite her resistance.

The woman refused a cup of coffee containing a sedative and when she struggled, the doctor asked her husband and daughter to hold her down so she could insert a drip containing the lethal injection.

My word that is a stiff punishment for murdering someone, isn’t it?

The patient had been placed in a nursing home in Mariahoeve in The Hague after her condition became significantly worse, and it was there that a review by the on-site doctor concluded the woman was suffering unbearably from her condition.

The unnamed patient had completed a living will five years prior to her death, saying she wished to die when she considered the time was right, but it was not a formal euthanasia declaration.

A drug designed to make the patient sleep was put in her coffee, in breach of rules, it was found. The doctor, who is appealing against the ruling, also ignored the woman’s protests and inserted a drip into her arm, it was found. She further breached guidelines by asking family members to hold the patient down, according to an official report into the death.

When she thought the time was right, not when someone else did.

13 thoughts on “Formally reprimanded, eh?”

  1. Is there more to this story?

    It’s the fact that the husband and daughter would also appear to have been complicit?

    What’s the reality in which they thought it perfectly reasonable to assist in killing their own wife / mother?

  2. “When she thought the time was right, not when someone else did.”

    It would depend on when you had asked her. Before she got dementia, her decision was that if she got dementia she would rather die than be put into a care home. So they put her into a care home. When that resulted in her getting angry and severely distressed, and understandably so given that they had done to her precisely what she’d always said she didn’t want, sentenced to a decade’s imprisonment inside a living nightmare of insanity, they did what she had evidently wanted then, but only intermittently wanted now (what with her having severe dementia and probably no clue half the time what was going on).

    The woman, whose own mother had spent 12 years in a nursing home with dementia before she died, had made a “living will” saying she did not want to go to a home and wanted to choose the time of her own end.

    But she was admitted into a care home in her last seven weeks, where she was angry, stressed and tearful.

    She would wander the home at night looking for her husband, according to the euthanasia review committee’s report. She had been afraid of serious dementia, and while still at home had frequently verbalised the wish to die.

    So the moral question is, can your present self overrule the decisions of your future self if your future self is judged not mentally competent to make the decision? And the practical warning to anyone who wants to decide on their own future treatment is to make the paperwork unambiguous, comprehensive, detailed, and done officially, jumping through all the proper bureaucratic hoops. Because doctors are not going to do what you tell them to any more unless they’re legally covered.

    Because that’s the only way she would get the treatment *she* thought was right, not the treatment someone else more opposed to euthanasia did.

  3. This is precisely the reason why I oppose euthanasia. You can design all the “robust processes” you want but, like those pre-signed abortion forms, any process will be carelessly avoided and events such as this will become routine.

  4. But, but,
    I though Harold Shipman was in jail? I hadn’t realised HMP had rented him out to the Dutch health system….

  5. “The woman … had made a “living will” saying she did not want to go to a home and wanted to choose the time of her own end.”

    Well, yes. One does hear a lot of statements about what people want to happen in their latter years. From my own father included. But whether that’s possible depends on the agreement to participate in fulfilling those expectations from others. And whether the people themselves have conducted their own lives in a way that has built up obligations that the people expected to aid might feel they have to discharge.

  6. For yourself, or for everyone else

    As in it must remain illegal.

    Incidentally, I wonder how many of those incensed that the UK government isn’t bothered about the ISIS psychos getting the death penalty (after due process) just went ‘meh’ when they read this?

  7. Spent 3 nights I hospital recently next to a deaf 70 year old with dementia, not exactly quality of life and very sad and very difficult to be around.
    Discharged myself a day early as I couldn’t take another day there.
    Agree that the entire ‘living will’ thing needs to be much more regulated and organised, my wife worked in ICU for many years and often commmented on the number of relatives that would insist on resuscitation for elderly patients despite them having a DNR

  8. Er. If she illegally gave her a Sedatitive then surely everything that follows is murder.

    This should be black and white. No half arsed civil process, it was within rules or homicide.

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