Monday, February 15, 2010

Dutch may create "suicide professionals" for seniors

BioEdge | February 15, 2010

“Wanted: nurse or spiritual caretaker in possession of a Completed Life Certificate to assist suicides.” If a group of elderly grandees in the Netherlands calling itself “Out of Free Will” succeeds with its plan for decriminalizing assisted suicide, job advertisements like this will be appearing in the newspapers.

They have already begun collecting signatures to lobby for a change in legislation.

In an interview in the NRC Handelsblad, three of them explain why the Netherlands needs to grant anyone sane over the age of 70 the right to die with a professionally-trained expert’s assistance. Under their plan the expert would determine whether they are of sound mind and not depressed. A doctor would then confirm this assessment. After the death, the expert would write up a report for the local euthanasia committee. Only Dutch citizens would be eligible.

The specialist suicide assistants will need to complete a “Completed Life” training program and to join a professional association which will maintain standards of professional, transparent and safe conduct.

Dick Swaab, the head of the Amsterdam-based Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, and a leader of the group, explained that “Throughout the animal kingdom, individuals are simply replaced, rather than patched up endlessly.” Human beings are much the same and they should move on when it is time to go." Full story.

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