Doctors and Criminal Lawyers dealing with death and dying

Multidisciplinary and Empirical Perspectives on Medical Decision Making at the End of Life

“Doctor and lawyers dealing with death and dying” is a collaborative research project between the Erasmus School of Law and the Public Health department of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam. Our aim is to combine empirical research with the expertise of criminal law to better understand, regulate, and control end-of-life decision making in health care and (criminal) law.

The current legal provisions for physician assisted dying in the Netherlands only cover “standard cases”. Complicated ethical and legal problems remain for many patients groups, such as children between 1-12 years old, psychiatric patients, individuals who are tired of life, and patients with dementia. Currently, there is also debate in the Netherlands about allowing non-physicians to assist in dying

Our project meets an urgent need to address the ethical and legal issues in end-of-life decision making at the perimeters of the euthanasia law. Moreover, even within the category of standard cases, the provision in legislature created a normative and procedural difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide on the one hand and terminal sedation, which is considered normal medical treatment, on the other.

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