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Retrospective cohort study
No increase in demand for euthanasia following implementation of the Euthanasia Act in The Netherlands; pain as a reason for euthanasia request was increasing before implementation but declined subsequently
  1. Hilde M Buiting1,
  2. Agnes van der Heide2,
  3. Bregje D Onwuteaka-Philipsen3
  1. 1VU University Medical Center, Department of Social Medicine, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  2. 2Erasmus Medical Center, Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
  3. 3VU University Medical Center, Department of Social Medicine, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Hilde M Buiting
    van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands; h.buiting{at}vumc.nl

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General practitioners (GPs) often receive requests for euthanasia. For physicians, a patient's request for euthanasia is the starting point in considering whether or not to grant a patient's request and to perform euthanasia. Following a previous study, van Alphen and colleagues studied trends in the number of, and reasons for, requests for euthanasia before (1998–2002) and 5 years after (2003–2007) the implementation of the Euthanasia Act. Van Alphen and colleagues used patient information reported by GPs from 45 general practices in the Dutch Sentinel Practice Network. Its population (1% of the total population) is considered as a representative for The Netherlands with regard to age, sex, geographic distribution and population density.

The authors' main finding is that the number of requests for euthanasia remained stable after the implementation of the Euthanasia Act (2002) with cancer as the major …

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