13 April 2023, by Victoria Séveno

According to figures published by the Regional Euthanasia Review Committees (RTE) and reported by NU, last year over 8.700 requests for euthanasia were approved, meaning that one in 20 deaths recorded in the Netherlands last year was from legal euthanasia. 

5,1 percent of all deaths last year were assisted

Preliminary figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) show that the country recorded almost 170.000 deaths in 2022. Of those, a total of 8.720 are reported to have been the result of a request for euthanasia. This means that euthanasia accounted for 5,1 percent – or around one in 20 – deaths last year.

The total number of assisted deaths rose by 13,7 percent between 2021 and 2022. In 2021, euthanasia accounted for 4,5 percent of all deaths in the Netherlands. RTE notes that the country has seen the number of euthanasia requests increase over the past several years, but states that experts have no explanation for this. 

Euthanasia laws in the Netherlands

Under Dutch law, euthanasia and assisted dying are legal in cases where “a patient is experiencing unbearable suffering with no prospect of improvement.” The process is not a simple one and, as the Dutch government explains, in order for the process to be legal the attending doctor must fulfil “the statutory care criteria”.

Euthanasia can only be performed at the patient’s own request, not at the request of family or friends. Physicians are also not obliged to grant a request for euthanasia; they are free to refuse and refer the patient to another doctor.

Thumb: Patrick Thomas via Shutterstock.com.

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