Asking to Die: Inside the Dutch Debate about Euthanasia

  • David C. Thomasma
  • Thomasine Kimbrough-Kushner
  • Gerrit K. Kimsma
  • Chris Ciesielski-Carlucci

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. Prologue

    1. Pages 1-2
  3. The Dutch Definition of Euthanasia

  4. Toward a Dutch Compromise: Perspectives from Government, Law, Medicine, and Academia

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 5-18
    2. Structuring the Public Policy Debate

    3. Current Commentary

      1. Zbigniew Zylicz
        Pages 187-203
      2. Henk ten Have
        Pages 205-220
      3. Harry Kuitert, Evert van Leeuwen
        Pages 221-226
      4. Henk Jochemsen
        Pages 227-240
      5. Martien A. M. Pijnenburg
        Pages 241-253
  5. Living with Euthanasia: Physicians and Families Speak for Themselves

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 255-266
    2. Physician Stories Euthanasia at Home

    3. Physician Stories Euthanasia in an Institutional Setting

    4. Physician Stories Public Cases and Issues

    5. Family Stories

  6. Euthanasia: Promises and Perils

  7. Back Matter
    Pages 517-584

About this book


claim was that he had faced a conflict of duties pitting his legal duty not to kill against his duty as a physician to relieve his patient’s unbearable suffering. He was acquitted on the important grounds of conflict of duty. These grounds are based on a concept in Dutch law called "force majeure" 4 which recognizes extenuating circumstances such as conflicts of duty. The acquittal was upheld by the Lower Court of Alkmaar, but revoked by an Amsterdam court of appeal. The case went on to the Supreme Court, but before the Supreme Court's decision was issued, the Royal Dutch Medical Association (RDMA) attempted to clarify the criteria for euthanasia that many within the profession already accepted. The RDMA proposed that physicians be permitted to perform euthanasia provided that a set of procedures had been met. Variously stated, the guidelines contain the following central provisions: Voluntary, competent, explicit, and persistent requests on the part of the • patient; Requests based on full information; • The patient is in a situation of intolerable and hopeless suffering (either • physical or mental); No further acceptable alternatives to euthanasia. All alternatives • acceptable to the patient for relief of suffering having been tried; Consultation with at least one other physician whose judgment can be • 5 expected to be independent. Indirectly, these guidelines became the criteria prosecutors used to decide whether or not to bring charges.


Institution Policy morality

Editors and affiliations

  • David C. Thomasma
    • 1
  • Thomasine Kimbrough-Kushner
    • 2
  • Gerrit K. Kimsma
    • 3
  • Chris Ciesielski-Carlucci
    • 4
  1. 1.Stritch School of MedicineLoyola University ChicagoMaywoodUSA
  2. 2.Berkeley, School of Public HealthUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  3. 3.Medical FacultyVrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Medical CenterStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

Bibliographic information