By law, physicians who perform euthanasia or assist in suicide are committing a criminal offence. However, they are not criminally liable if they comply with the statutory due care criteria and notify the municipal pathologist of their actions.
What do the due care criteria say?
The statutory due care criteria say that the physician must:
- be satisfied that the patient’s request is voluntary and well-considered;
- be satisfied that the patient’s suffering is unbearable, with no prospect of improvement;
- have informed the patient about their situation and prognosis;
- have come to the conclusion, together with the patient, that there is no reasonable alternative in the patient’s situation;
- have consulted at least one other, independent physician, who must see the patient and give a written opinion on whether the due care criteria set out above have been fulfilled;
- have exercised due medical care and attention in terminating the patient’s life or assisting in the patient’s suicide.