Wanting to die at ‘five to midnight’ – before dementia takes over

Source: BBC News

Annie ZwijnenbergImage copyrightBEFORE IT’S TOO LATE

It’s not unusual for Dutch patients with dementia to request euthanasia, but in the later stages of the disease they may be incapable of reconfirming their consent – one doctor is currently facing prosecution in such a case. But fear of being refused is pushing some to ask to die earlier than they would have liked.

Annie Zwijnenberg was never in any doubt.

“The neurologist said: ‘I’m sorry, but there’s no way we can mistake this – it’s Alzheimer’s,” says Anneke Soute-Zwijnenberg, describing the moment her mother was first diagnosed.

“And she said: ‘OK, then I know what I want.'”

Anneke’s brother Frank chips in: “Maybe she hesitated for five seconds, and said: ‘Now I know what to do.'”

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