Catholic Nursing Home to Stand Trial for Denying Active Euthanasia
In 2011, after initially agreeing to euthanasia for a 74-year-old cancer patient, a Catholic nursing home denied the physician access to the patient. The patient had to be taken home where she could receive the doctor.
Her family is now pressing charges against the provider of the nursing home for the additional physical and mental pain the transport to her apartment had caused.
Belgian law provides that physicians may refuse to perform active euthanasia, but this is not clearly defined for nursing and health facilities. Three judges in a civil court in Leuven will preside over the proceedings, due to the significance of the case. The outcome could set new standards in euthanasia laws.
In Belgium, assisted suicide is not a criminal offense, depending on the circumstances of each the case. In February 2014, Belgium became the first country in the world to have no age limit for active euthanasia.