No law in any jurisdiction that permits physician assisted dying offers individuals a medically assisted death without the need to comply with certain criteria. The Netherlands is no exception. There is evidence to suggest that physicians are averse to providing an assisted death even when the Dutch ‘due care criteria’ have been met and the unbearable suffering requirement is especially difficult to satisfy. Some individuals with an enduring desire to die who do not meet the ‘due care’ criteria under the Dutch legislation turn to other means of achieving a self-appointed death. This paper explores two alternative methods of securing a self-determined death (an assisted death involving lay assistors or a self-hastened death by stopping eating and drinking), and raises the question of how far the law should recognise autonomy in the context of physician assisted death.
This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in RSM journals: www.rsmpress.com.