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Death Stud. 2007 Jan-Feb;31(1):1-15.

Relatives' perspective on the terminally ill patients who died after euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide: a retrospective cross-sectional interview study in the Netherlands.

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Department of Public and Occupational Health, Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine, VU Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


This study used retrospective interviews with 87 relatives to describe the experiences of patients who died by euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide (EAS) in the Netherlands. Most of the patients suffered from cancer (85%). The relatives were most often a partner (63%) or a child (28%) of the patient. Before explicitly requesting EAS most patients (79%) had spoken about their wishes concerning medical end-of-life decisions to be made at a later date. Hopeless suffering, loss of dignity, and no prospect of recovery were the most prevalent reasons for explicitly requesting EAS. According to the relative, in 92% of patients EAS had contributed favourably to the quality of the end of life, mainly by preventing or ending suffering.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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