From The Washington Post:
Nic and Trees Elderhorst knew exactly how they wanted to die. They were both 91 years old and in declining health. Nic Elderhorst suffered a stroke in 2012 and more recently, his wife, Trees Elderhorst, was diagnosed with dementia, according to the Dutch newspaper, De Gelderlander. Neither wanted to live without the other, or leave this world alone. So the two, who lived in Didam, a town in the eastern part of the Netherlands, and had been together 65 years, shared a last word, and a kiss, then died last month hand-in-hand — in a double euthanasia allowed under Dutch law, according to De Gelderlander. “Dying together was their deepest wish,” their daughters told the newspaper, according to an English translation. The Netherlands became the first country to legalize euthanasia in 2002, allowing physicians to assist ailing patients in ending their lives without facing criminal prosecution. Euthanasia, in which a physician terminates a patient’s life at his or her request, is legal in a few countries, including Belgium, Colombia and Luxembourg. Physician-assisted suicide, in which a doctor prescribes lethal drugs that a patient may take to end his or her life, is permitted in a few others, including in certain states in the United States, according to ProCon.org, a nonprofit organization that researches countries’ legislation on the issue. “We are pleased that we have in the Netherlands this humane and carefully executed legislation that allows the honorable wishes of these two people whose fate was painful and hopeless,” Dick Bosscher, of the Dutch Association for a Voluntary End of Life (NVVE), said in a statement to The Washington Post. He said the Elderhorsts belonged to NVVE, a 165,000-member organization for euthanasia and assisted suicide in the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, these statisticsshould give everyone pause:
More statistics about euthanasia from the Netherlands, based on the latest figures from 2015. Nearly one death in 20 (4.5%) is now due to euthanasia. The figures come from a letter in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. “It looks like patients are now more willing to ask for euthanasia and physicians are more willing to grant it,” said lead author Dr. Agnes van der Heide of Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam. But the statistics for euthanasia alone masks the proportion of end-of-life decisions in the Netherlands. The figures for some categories overlap, but 4.5% of all deaths happened through euthanasia, 0.1% through physician-assisted suicide; and 18.3% through “continuous deep sedation.”