(Reuters) In the decade after Belgium legalized doctor-assisted death, the number of patients using it to end their lives rose nearly eight-fold, according to records of the national euthanasia control committee.
Most patients choosing this way to die between 2003 and 2013 were younger than 80 and had cancer. But the largest increases in euthanasia cases over that period was among people older than 80, those without cancer and those not expected to die in the near future, researchers report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002, and the new regulations allow a doctor to end a patient’s life if the patient requests it, has full mental capacity and has constant, unbearable physical or mental suffering, the researchers write.
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