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It was a world's first when in 2012 the End of Life Clinic opened its doors in the Netherlands. Doctors working for this clinic are willing to reconsider people’s euthanasia requests after other doctors refused to carry out a patient’s death-wish. The clinic is receiving 1200 requests a year, nearly 400 patients die with their help.
Many of its patients have complicated medical profiles such as psychiatric illness or developing Alzheimer’s disease. The documentary ‘End of Life Clinic’ is the first ever intimate portrait of the much debated clinic, its doctors and patients. With unlimited access directors Marcel Ouddeken and Hans Kema have been able to tell the story of three people who contacted the clinic with a persistent death wish: Ans Dijkstra (100) wants to die because ‘she’s done living'. Psychiatric patient Joop Vervloet (60) is suffering from compulsive behavior and self-mutilation. And Hannie Goudriaan (67) is suffering from developing dementia and doesn't want to live any longer. Several of her doctors raised objections because they doubt her ability to fully understand the implications of euthanasia. How do the doctors of the End of Life Clinic reach their conclusions with regards to these patients' wish to die? And how do the doctors justify that carrying out the request is lawful, especially after other doctors were convinced it couldn't be? The filmmakers were allowed to follow the patients during the procedure with complete compliance of the patients and their families. After broadcasting this pervasive documentary in the Netherlands a fierce discussion emerged about the role and carefulness of the End of Life Clinic doctors. Do they overstep the boundaries of the already liberal Dutch euthanasia laws by helping psychiatric and demented patients or do the doctors courageously come to their rescue within the law after other doctors have forsaken them?
In the Netherlands a total number of 5300 people a year die after euthanasia, assisted mostly by general practionioners. Although the End of Life Clinic only assists only a small part, many of its cases are considered controversial.
The documentary End of Life Clinic is telling a very intense and personal story of three people in a vulnerable stage of their life.