2019-124, due care criteria complied with

Straightforward notification, full report of findings, progressive
condition, very protracted illness.

The patient, a woman in her sixties, had been suffering for decades from multiple sclerosis (MS, a disease of the central nervous system). The symptoms gradually became more severe. Her condition was incurable. She could only be treated palliatively.

The patient’s suffering consisted of a loss of bodily functions. She found it virtually impossible to operate her electric wheelchair and hardly ever went outdoors any more. She had a low cardiopulmonary capacity (capacity to carry out actions) and increasing difficulty speaking. She could no longer feed herself. She suffered from her dependence on others and the lack of any prospect of improvement in her situation. She had lost the capacity to bear her suffering and wished to die in a dignified manner. 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. There were no alternative ways to alleviate the patient’s suffering that were acceptable to her.

The committee found that the physician had acted in accordance with the due care criteria.