A small proportion of deaths result from the use of drugs with the intention to hasten death without an explicit request of the patient. Additional insight into its characteristics is needed for evaluating this practice. In the Netherlands in 2001, questionnaires were mailed to physicians that addressed the decision making that preceded their patient's death. Cases of ending life without an explicit request of the patient were compared with similar cases from 1995 and with cases from Belgium, Denmark, and Switzerland. In the Netherlands in 2001, patients receiving life-ending drugs without their explicit request were most often 80+ years old and had cancer. Most of them were incompetent patients nearing death. Characteristics of this practice in 1995 were quite comparable, as were characteristics of this practice in Belgium, Denmark, and Switzerland. The use of drugs with the intention to hasten death without an explicit request of the patient is part of medical end-of-life practice in the studied countries, regardless of their legal framework, and it occurs in similar fashion. Copyright

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Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/07481180601152443, hdl.handle.net/1765/36219
Citation
Rietjens, J.A.C, Bilsen, J, Fischer, S, van der Heide, A, van der Maas, P.J, Miccinessi, G, … van der Wal, G. (2007). Using drugs to end life without an explicit request of the patient. Death Studies: counseling - research - education - care - ethics, 31(3), 205–221. doi:10.1080/07481180601152443