Commonalities and differences in legal euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in three countries: a population-level comparison

Sigrid Dierickx, Bregje Onwuteaka-Philipsen, Yolanda Penders, Joachim Cohen, Agnes van der Heide, Milo A. Puhan, Sarah Ziegler, Georg Bosshard, Luc Deliens, Kenneth Chambaere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: To describe and compare euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (EAS) practice in Flanders, Belgium (BE), the Netherlands (NL) and Switzerland (CH). Methods: Mortality follow-back surveys among attending physicians of a random sample of death certificates. Results: We studied 349 EAS deaths in BE (4.6% of all deaths), 851 in NL (4.6% of all deaths) and 65 in CH (1.4% of all deaths). People who died by EAS were mostly aged 65 or older (BE: 81%, NL: 77% and CH: 71%) and were mostly diagnosed with cancer (BE: 57% and NL: 66%). Home was the most common place of death in NL (79%), while in BE and CH, more variation was found regarding to place of death. The decision to perform EAS was more frequently discussed with a colleague physician in BE (93%) and NL (90%) than in CH (60%). Conclusions: EAS practice characteristics vary considerably in the studied countries with legal EAS. In addition to the legal context, cultural factors as well as the manner in which legislation is implemented play a role in how EAS legislation translates into practice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Public Health
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Cite this

Dierickx, Sigrid ; Onwuteaka-Philipsen, Bregje ; Penders, Yolanda ; Cohen, Joachim ; van der Heide, Agnes ; Puhan, Milo A. ; Ziegler, Sarah ; Bosshard, Georg ; Deliens, Luc ; Chambaere, Kenneth. / Commonalities and differences in legal euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in three countries: a population-level comparison. In: International Journal of Public Health. 2019.
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title = "Commonalities and differences in legal euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in three countries: a population-level comparison",
abstract = "Objectives: To describe and compare euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (EAS) practice in Flanders, Belgium (BE), the Netherlands (NL) and Switzerland (CH). Methods: Mortality follow-back surveys among attending physicians of a random sample of death certificates. Results: We studied 349 EAS deaths in BE (4.6{\%} of all deaths), 851 in NL (4.6{\%} of all deaths) and 65 in CH (1.4{\%} of all deaths). People who died by EAS were mostly aged 65 or older (BE: 81{\%}, NL: 77{\%} and CH: 71{\%}) and were mostly diagnosed with cancer (BE: 57{\%} and NL: 66{\%}). Home was the most common place of death in NL (79{\%}), while in BE and CH, more variation was found regarding to place of death. The decision to perform EAS was more frequently discussed with a colleague physician in BE (93{\%}) and NL (90{\%}) than in CH (60{\%}). Conclusions: EAS practice characteristics vary considerably in the studied countries with legal EAS. In addition to the legal context, cultural factors as well as the manner in which legislation is implemented play a role in how EAS legislation translates into practice.",
author = "Sigrid Dierickx and Bregje Onwuteaka-Philipsen and Yolanda Penders and Joachim Cohen and {van der Heide}, Agnes and Puhan, {Milo A.} and Sarah Ziegler and Georg Bosshard and Luc Deliens and Kenneth Chambaere",
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Commonalities and differences in legal euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in three countries: a population-level comparison. / Dierickx, Sigrid; Onwuteaka-Philipsen, Bregje; Penders, Yolanda; Cohen, Joachim; van der Heide, Agnes; Puhan, Milo A.; Ziegler, Sarah; Bosshard, Georg; Deliens, Luc; Chambaere, Kenneth.

In: International Journal of Public Health, 2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - Dierickx, Sigrid

AU - Onwuteaka-Philipsen, Bregje

AU - Penders, Yolanda

AU - Cohen, Joachim

AU - van der Heide, Agnes

AU - Puhan, Milo A.

AU - Ziegler, Sarah

AU - Bosshard, Georg

AU - Deliens, Luc

AU - Chambaere, Kenneth

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - Objectives: To describe and compare euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (EAS) practice in Flanders, Belgium (BE), the Netherlands (NL) and Switzerland (CH). Methods: Mortality follow-back surveys among attending physicians of a random sample of death certificates. Results: We studied 349 EAS deaths in BE (4.6% of all deaths), 851 in NL (4.6% of all deaths) and 65 in CH (1.4% of all deaths). People who died by EAS were mostly aged 65 or older (BE: 81%, NL: 77% and CH: 71%) and were mostly diagnosed with cancer (BE: 57% and NL: 66%). Home was the most common place of death in NL (79%), while in BE and CH, more variation was found regarding to place of death. The decision to perform EAS was more frequently discussed with a colleague physician in BE (93%) and NL (90%) than in CH (60%). Conclusions: EAS practice characteristics vary considerably in the studied countries with legal EAS. In addition to the legal context, cultural factors as well as the manner in which legislation is implemented play a role in how EAS legislation translates into practice.

AB - Objectives: To describe and compare euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (EAS) practice in Flanders, Belgium (BE), the Netherlands (NL) and Switzerland (CH). Methods: Mortality follow-back surveys among attending physicians of a random sample of death certificates. Results: We studied 349 EAS deaths in BE (4.6% of all deaths), 851 in NL (4.6% of all deaths) and 65 in CH (1.4% of all deaths). People who died by EAS were mostly aged 65 or older (BE: 81%, NL: 77% and CH: 71%) and were mostly diagnosed with cancer (BE: 57% and NL: 66%). Home was the most common place of death in NL (79%), while in BE and CH, more variation was found regarding to place of death. The decision to perform EAS was more frequently discussed with a colleague physician in BE (93%) and NL (90%) than in CH (60%). Conclusions: EAS practice characteristics vary considerably in the studied countries with legal EAS. In addition to the legal context, cultural factors as well as the manner in which legislation is implemented play a role in how EAS legislation translates into practice.

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