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.