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Right to Die: Contents

Read the guidelines and complete the missing words/phrases.  (Make a note of these in Notepad or on paper.)


Voluntary Euthanasia in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands there is an unusual situation. Although euthanasia is illegal there, doctors are not ___(A)___ if they follow special euthanasia guidelines.

These guidelines were made as ___(B)___ of a famous trial in 1973. A doctor gave a fatal injection to her sick mother. The mother was in great pain and wanted to die.

Many people believed that the doctor had done the ___(C)___ thing. However, under the law, the court had no choice: it had to find the doctor ___(D)___. She was given a suspended sentence of one week in prison.

PROSECUTE (v): officially charge with a crime.

FATAL (adj): leading to someone's death.

An INJECTION is a way of using a special needle to give somebody a drug.

A SENTENCE is the punishment decided by a court. If a judge SUSPENDS a sentence, the judge decides that the person does not actually have to receive the punishment.

The guidelines say that the person who is going to die:
  • must completely ___(E)___ what will happen; 
  • must know about all other kinds of ___(F)___; 
  • must freely repeat their ___(G)___ over a period of time; 
  • must be ___(H)___ from something that will not stop or go away.
TREATMENT (n): a way of trying to make a sick person better.
In addition:
  • A second doctor, (not the doctor who will perform the euthanasia) must ___(I)___ that euthanasia is acceptable in that particular case. 
  • After the patient has died, the doctor who ___(J)___ the euthanasia must complete a long questionnaire. 
  • When the patient is dead, a coroner must ___(K)___ the body and check the facts of the case.
Finally, after all this has been done, the Ministry of Justice can decide to ___(L)___, if it is not satisfied.


QUESTIONNAIRE (n): a list of written questions for the purpose of gathering information. 

The MINISTRY OF JUSTICE: In many countries, the part of government that deals with enforcing the laws.

Right to Die: Contents

This information comes from the article "A Careful Death" by Dinyar Godrej which appeared in the April 1997 issue of the New Internationalist.
Copyright 1997, 1998: the New Internationalist