Eligibility criteria of euthanasia

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Criteria of Euthanasia

By now you may be familiar with the different types of euthanasia as well as the arguments of both sides of the euthanasia debate. There’s one more, very important thing you should know, though: the criteria you need to meet to be able to receive euthanasia.

Consent

The first requirement is the person asking help to end their life is of legal age, which is usually 18 years old. This way the person can legally provide consent. In some countries, younger people can ask for euthanasia too but then parental consent is in most case required.

Illness & Evaluation

Secondly, most health care systems require a terminal illness diagnosis. Alternatively, some governments and health organizations refer to this as lacking any prospect of improvement. Sometimes governments allow for euthanasia only if the estimated time of life of the patient is not too long.

It is not uncommon that the person asking for euthanasia needs to visit multiple physicians and medical doctors. Meetings with health professionals also take place to ensure that the patient is expressing their wish to die voluntarily. Informed consent needs to be accompanied by clear voluntary intention to end your life, otherwise probably no medical professional will take part in the process. That is also why people need to often submit a euthanasia request repeatedly.

Citizenship

Many countries may require that the person asking for active euthanasia is a citizen or permanent resident of that country. Passive euthanasia maybe a different story, but regulations vary greatly on this matter. 

Mental health

In most settings the patient has to prove that they are of sound mind in one way or another. That could take place through multiple evaluations and meetings with mental health experts.

What does not make you eligible for euthanasia?

Finally, most legal frameworks do not consider old age, disabilities or mental illness as eligible criteria to receive euthanasia. Countries like the Netherlands and Belgium are notable exceptions to some of these criteria.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that these eligibility criteria are not the same everywhere in the world. Our list should just be a general tool that informs you about what could be potentially needed. Always check with local authorities and national regulations to see what applies for your case. Finally, if you want to read more on what rules may apply in your region have a look here.