Peter Walker “One in five Dutch doctors would help physically healthy patients die” http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/feb/17/assisted-dying-dutch-doctors-patient-law-netherlands
Almost one in five Dutch doctors would consider helping someone die even if they had no physical problems but were “tired of living”, according to one of the most comprehensive academic studies of such attitudes.
The research, in which almost 1,500 GPs, geriatric care doctors and clinical specialists answered a detailed, anonymous survey, also found that 2% of them said they had taken part in such euthanasia or assisted suicide without medical grounds for a patient who was suffering, even though this is prohibited under Dutch law.
The paper, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, also found that 40% of the doctors said it was conceivable they would help someone in the early stages of dementia to die, while 3% had done so. Just over a third said they might also be willing to assist people with a psychiatric disease who wished to end their life.
Nonetheless, the study found that 18% of the Dutch doctors would consider helping someone to die without them having any physical affliction if they were “tired of living”. Also, 27%, said they would possibly assist in a death of someone who had a medical condition but not a serious one. The authors concede that the self-selecting nature of the respondents – about 800 doctors were sent the questionnaire but did not return it – could skew the results slightly.
Eva Bolt, at VU University in Amsterdam, who led the study, said doctors seeking to help end the life of someone free from physical problems would be breaking the law. However, she added, this did not mean the 2% who admitted doing so had committed a crime: “It’s hard to say – it’s possible that these are physicians that performed euthanasia years ago, when there was no law, so we can’t say they didn’t abide by the law.”
The number of Dutch people taking advantage of assisted dying has increased considerably since 2002. In 2013, the last year for which data has been compiled, 4,829 people chose to get assistance from a doctor in end their lives.
Dementia is among the medical conditions seen as legitimately providing grounds for people to seek help in dying, even if it is at an early stage, though this is rare. In 2013, 97 people in the Netherlands with dementia died through euthanasia or assisted suicide. Virtually all these cases involved the early stages of the condition.
Of those saying they would refuse any request to help someone die, two-thirds were religious, according to Bolt. But even among these, she added, the vast majority said they would be happy to refer the patient to a doctor who might be willing to help, and hardly any wanted the law repealed.
*1:http://www.vu.nl/ See eg. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VU_University_Amsterdam http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%82%A2%E3%83%A0%E3%82%B9%E3%83%86%E3%83%AB%E3%83%80%E3%83%A0%E8%87%AA%E7%94%B1%E5%A4%A7%E5%AD%A6
*5:小松氏の（反）安楽死論については、http://d.hatena.ne.jp/demian/20061119/p1（cited in http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20061119/1163959707）も参照されたい。