2017-49, due care criteria complied with

Straightforward notification, pulmonary disease.

The patient, a woman in her fifties, had been suffering for 14 years from chronic narrowing of the airways (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD). Her lung disease progressed until it was very severe. Her condition was incurable. She could only be treated palliatively (care aimed at improving the patient’s quality of life).

The patient was suffering from general malaise, shortness of breath, muscular complaints and fatigue. She had always been an independent woman but she was now increasingly confined to her bed. She was dependent on oxygen and had to rely on others for her personal care. The patient was suffering from the futility of her situation, the lack of quality of life and a fear of suffocating. She experienced her suffering asunbearable.

The physician was satisfied that this suffering was unbearable to her and with no prospect of improvement according to prevailing medical opinion. The physician concluded that the request was voluntary and well considered. He also consulted an independent (SCEN) 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 the due care criteria.