Euthanasia in the Netherlands, the Policy and Practice of Mercy Killing

By Hattab, Jocelyn | The Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences, October 1, 2005 | Go to article overview

Euthanasia in the Netherlands, the Policy and Practice of Mercy Killing


Hattab, Jocelyn, The Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences


Euthanasia in The Netherlands, The Policy and Practice of Mercy Killing by Raphael Cohen-Almagor Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2004 Dordrecht/Boston/London. 205pp.

Israel as well as many other countries in the West has developed new laws and recommendations for physicians and other health professionals coping with the terminally ill patient. Professor Abraham Steinberg is the chairman of the committee of which I am a member that has formulated a proposal for a law dealing with this critical and potentially harmful problem.

The question discussed in this book, "physician assisted suicide," was also discussed in our committee but was not included in our proposal. Jewish tradition puts the sanctity of life as the higher value, stressing that nothing be done to shorten life whatever the conditions. However, a physician can decide not to use or renew practices that can prolong life if it has been well established that this prolongation of life is futile, harmful and senseless.

Whatever one's views on this issue, this book is a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand the pitfalls of policy-making where euthanasia and physician assisted suicide are concerned. …

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