2017-59, due care criteria complied with

Straightforward notification, cardiovascular disease.

The patient, a woman in her eighties, developed heart failure five months before her death. Her condition was incurable and became terminal. She could only be treated palliatively (care aimed at improving the patient’s quality of life).

The patient’s suffering was caused by severe shortness of breath at the slightest exertion, and by her immobility and exhaustion. She also experienced intense itching and back pain. There was nothing the patient was capable of doing and she had become confined to her sofa. She suffered from a fear of falling and from the futility of her situation. She experienced her suffering as unbearable.

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.