Legally taking life

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 March, 2008, 12:00am

Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are the only European Union states that allow euthanasia. A set of strict protocols have been set up to prevent abuse of the practice. In the Netherlands, euthanasia is carried out by the administration of an injection to render the patient comatose, followed by a second injection to stop the heart. To avoid prosecution, the doctor can only administer euthanasia when the patient makes a voluntary request which must be well considered and enduring in nature. The patient must be suffering from unbearable pain. The doctor must also get a second opinion from a colleague and the two must agree on the proposed course of action.