Given the extremely careful handling of the case by Catharina A, this ruling is only just. The NVVE is pleased that the court acknowledges with this judgment that the physician was not required to ask the deeply demented patient, who could not speak coherently anymore, to confirm her written advance directive.
Catharina A. granted euthanasia in 2016 to a deeply demented woman who was in possession of a written advance directive. She had drawn up this advance directive on the basis of a well-considered and deep wish, and she confirmed her wishes on several occasions when she was still competent. The purpose of the advance directive was to replace an oral euthanasia request if she were no longer able to make such a request. The euthanasia law offers this possibility (art. 2.2. WTL).
The patient no longer knew what euthanasia was and no longer had insight into her illness. Because of this, she could not make meaningful statements about life and death. To the relief of the NVVE, the judge acknowledges with this judgment the value of a written advance directive and with that the right to self-determination.
The NVVE will guarantee the legal support of the doctor - if the Public Prosecution Office appeals - from a fund specifically for this type of important legal cases. The Public Prosecution Office has two weeks to decide if she will appeal.