Relatives' perspective on the terminally ill patients who died after euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide: a retrospective cross-sectional interview study in the Netherlands

Death Stud. 2007 Jan-Feb;31(1):1-15. doi: 10.1080/07481180600985041.


This study used retrospective interviews with 87 relatives to describe the experiences of patients who died by euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide (EAS) in the Netherlands. Most of the patients suffered from cancer (85%). The relatives were most often a partner (63%) or a child (28%) of the patient. Before explicitly requesting EAS most patients (79%) had spoken about their wishes concerning medical end-of-life decisions to be made at a later date. Hopeless suffering, loss of dignity, and no prospect of recovery were the most prevalent reasons for explicitly requesting EAS. According to the relative, in 92% of patients EAS had contributed favourably to the quality of the end of life, mainly by preventing or ending suffering.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Euthanasia, Active* / psychology
  • Family* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Right to Die
  • Suicide, Assisted* / psychology
  • Terminally Ill* / psychology