Little change in euthanasia post-legality

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Amsterdam - A new study says the frequency of doctor-assisted euthanasia in the Netherlands has changed little since the longstanding practice was legalized in 2002.

According to a summary published Wednesday on The Lancet magazine's website, “In 2010, of all deaths in the Netherlands, 2.8 percent were the result of euthanasia. This is higher than the 1.7 percent in 2005, but comparable with (levels seen) in 2001 and 1995.”

Under the law, a person who asks to die may be administered a lethal cocktail of sedatives if two doctors agree he or she is suffering “unbearable” pain with no prospect for recovery. Most cases involve cancer victims.

The Lancet study is based on 2010 death registry data and follows previous studies in 1990, 1995, 2001, and 2005. - Sapa-AP

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