Up to one in twenty deaths in the Netherlands last year were by means of euthanasia.
A total of 8,720 people took their lives through euthanasia, representing 5% of all deaths in the country during the year and an increase of 13.7%.
The Regional Euthanasia Testing Committees (RTE) monitor euthanasia in the Netherlands and assesses whether doctors have met all the necessary requirements. However, the committee has only noted a few cases where doctors did not meet all the criteria, which is about 0.15% of all cases. However, no research or studies have yet been carried out as to why the number of deaths due to euthanasia is increasing in the country, but it has been suggested that people are taking “more responsibility” for their lives.
– We are becoming more individualistic and more and more in charge of our own lives. In addition, we are generally becoming less conservative when it comes to these types of topics, committee chair Jeroen Recourt told The Times.
In total, 115 people suffering from mental health issues alone were granted euthanasia, which is the same figure as in 2021.
– In practice you see that psychological suffering is slowly gaining ground, although it is still a minority, says Recourt.
Professor Kevin Yuill, CEO of Humanists Against Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, describes the figures as “frightening” and points to the fact that euthanasia is increasingly seen as a social solution rather than something that is used for medical problems.
– What we are increasingly seeing is death, ironically, as a ‘lifestyle choice’ for those who are frightened of living. This is worrying to say the least, says Yuill.
In 2022, 29 couples were also granted euthanasia together, which the professor says indicates that something is not right, as it is unlikely that their medical pathologies were so perfectly aligned that they could have chosen to die together for this reason alone.
Jeroen Recourt, however, is less concerned about the issue and says that it is rather a comfort for people to know that if “things really go wrong, euthanasia is an option“.
– I think it’s a reassuring thought, Recourt concludes.