If a physician complies with a request from a patient to end their life, this is called euthanasia. Another way to describe it is ‘termination of life on request’. If the physician helps a patient to end their own life, this is known as assisted suicide.

Rules on euthanasia and assisted suicide: the due care criteria

In performing euthanasia or assisting in suicide, physicians in the Netherlands must comply with strict rules that are laid down by law. These rules are known as the due care criteria. Physicians who fail to observe these statutory requirements are criminally liable. The official name of the Act is the Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act. It is also sometimes referred to as the euthanasia act.

Review committees

The review committees check whether a physician who has performed euthanasia or assisted in suicide has complied with the rules. Their official title is Regional Euthanasia Review Committees. There are five regional review committees.