Dutch doctor faces first euthanasia prosecution

The Hague (AFP) – Dutch authorities are prosecuting a doctor for euthanising an elderly woman with dementia in the first case of its kind since the practice was legalised in 2002, officials said Friday.

The female doctor, who was not named, allegedly put a sleeping drug into the 74-year-old woman’s coffee and had to ask her family to hold her down when she began to struggle.

The Netherlands and neighbouring Belgium became the first countries in the world to legalise so-called mercy killing, but it can only be carried out by doctors and under very strict conditions.

Prosecutors said the doctor in the case “overstepped the mark” with the nursing home patient, who had written a will saying she wanted to die but did not clearly say so at the time of her death.

“A nursing home doctor who performed euthanasia in April 2016 on a 74-year-old demented and incapacitated woman will be prosecuted,” the Netherlands prosecution service said in a statement.

“This is the first time that the Dutch Public Prosecution Service will prosecute a doctor for euthanasia since the introduction of the Act on Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide in 2002.”

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