Careful and caring

The Dutch Euthanasia law has been in force since April 2002. This law has careful and detailed guidelines to allow physicians to perform euthanasia at the request of a patient. Physicians must follow these detailed legal and medical guidelines. Finally, the details of each completed euthanasia have to be reported to an independent regional review committee, to ensure that the procedure has been carried out in strict accordance with the rules. Physicians are not obliged to perform euthanasia and patients do not have the right to demand euthanasia. The decision to perform euthanasia is a joint decision between physician and patient. Any physician who has conscientious objections has the right to decline to perform euthanasia.

Expertisecentrum Euthanasie counsels and supports physicians who are helping patients with a request for euthanasia and give care to patients who, for whatever reason, cannot be helped by their own physician. Careful and caring.

Our organization, founded in 2012, carried the name of de Levenseindekliniek (the End of Life Clinic) until September 2019. We originated as a project from the NVVE, the Dutch Right to Die Society. Meanwhile we expanded to a professional health care organization, with a regional network of 140 physicians and nurses throughout the Netherlands.

Everyone in the Netherlands with a request for euthanasia should have the opportunity to check if that request fulfills the legal requirements. Euthanasia primarily should be in the hands of the own physician. However, not every physician can or will give euthanasia. Research has shown that lack in experience and doubts about meeting the legal requirements are reasons for not taking up the request for euthanasia by the own physician. Expertisecentrum Euthanasie (our new name) shares the expertise which has been gathered  the last few years, with the professional community. Physicians are welcomed to seek  advice or support for euthanasia requests, training or a refreshercourse. For patients who cannot be helped by their own physician – especially if it concerns a more complex request- the Expertisecentrum Euthanasie functions as a safety net.

Legal requirements

We work according to the requirements of the Dutch Euthanasialaw. This means that our physician:

  • has to be convinced that the request has been done voluntary and well-considered
  • has to be convinced that the patient is suffering unbearably has no chance of recovery
  • has informed the patient about his or her situation and perspective
  • has reached the conviction together with the patient that for this particular situation there is no other reasonable solution
  • has consulted at least one other independent physician, who saw and interviewed the patient and has given his or her opinion in writing on the aforementioned requirements.
  • will perform the euthanasia or help with assisted dying with medical care

Foreign requests

We focus on patients from the Netherlands. If you come from another country and you have a request for euthanasia in The Netherlands, then this is not a simple matter. Because good communication is very essential during the investigation for assessing the meeting of legal requirements, you have to be fluent in Dutch or English. You have to stay in The Netherlands during the investigation, which can take a rather long time. You must have a readable and accessible medical history. Also, the cost of investigation and euthanasia are only reimbursed if you have a Dutch medical insurance. It is our experience that as a non-resident is it very difficult to fulfill the legal requirements.