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Unexplained 7-fold variation in euthanasia rates across the Netherlands

"Official data show that the number of euthanasia cases has risen more or less continuously since 2006, reaching 6361 in 2019. "

Eurekalert — There’s a 7-fold unexplained variation in rates of euthanasia across The Netherlands, reveals an analysis of health insurance claims data, published online in the journal BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care.

It’s not clear if these differences relate to underuse, overuse, or even misuse, say the researchers.

The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalise euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, introducing preliminary legislation in 1994, followed by a fully fledged law in 2002. The practice has been tolerated, however, since 1985.

Official data show that the number of euthanasia cases has risen more or less continuously since 2006, reaching 6361 in 2019. These cases make up just a small proportion of all deaths, but they have doubled from just under 2% in 2002 to just over 4% in 2019.

And it’s not clear if there are regional patterns across the country, and what factors might be driving any such differences.

READ MORE AT EUREKALERT

PHOTO CREDIT: Alberto Biscalchin

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