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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mobile Euthanasia Unit Launched in the Netherlands

A group in the Netherlands has launched the country's first mobile euthanasia unit.

Six specialised teams, each with a doctor, will be able to carry out euthanasia on patients at home whose own doctors refused to do so, the Right to Die-NL (NVVE) group said.

"From Thursday, the Levenseindekliniek (Life-end clinic) will have mobile teams where people who think they comply to the criteria for euthanasia can register," NVVE spokeswoman Walburg de Jong said.

"If they comply, the teams will carry out the euthanasia at patients' homes should their normal doctors be unable or refuse to help them."

Made up of a specially-trained doctor and nurse who will work part-time for the unit, teams will be able to visit patients all over the Netherlands, Ms De Jong said - adding the procedure would be done free of charge.

But the plan has caused controversy within one of the country's largest lobby groups for doctors, which is concerned whether or not a "Life-end clinic" doctor will be able to form a close-enough relationship with a patient to correctly assess if his or her life should be ended.

"We are not against euthanasia if there is no other alternative," said Eric van Wijlick of the Royal Dutch Society of Doctors. Read More