2016-92, general practitioner, cardiovascular disease, unbearable suffering without prospect of improvement

KEY POINT: straightforward notification

The patient, a man in his eighties, had been suffering from cardiovascula disease for years. Two months before his death, he developed an abdominal aortic aneurysm (a bulge in the body’s main artery which may rupture and leak into the abdomen).

The patient declined further treatment. His condition was incurable. He could only be treated palliatively (care aimed at improving quality of life). In addition, the patient was weakened and suffered from a lack of appetite, weight loss and dizziness. He also was in pain at night, especially in his back. There was very little the patient, who had always been active, was capable of doing and he was bedridden. He was suffering from the futility of his situation, the absence of any prospect of improvement, the loss of control and his further deterioration. He experienced his suffering as unbearable.

The physician concluded that the request was voluntary and wellconsidered. He had also consulted an independent physician, who concluded that the due care criteria had been complied with. The physician performed the euthanasia with due medical care. The committee found that the physician had acted in accordance with all the due care criteria.