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Medical murder in Belgium and the Netherlands
  1. Lars Johan Materstvedt1,
  2. Morten Magelssen2
  1. 1Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Faculty of Humanities, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway
  2. 2Centre for Medical Ethics, Institute of Health and Society, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Professor Lars Johan Materstvedt, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway; lars.johan.materstvedt{at}


This article is a response to Raphael Cohen-Almagor's paper entitled ‘First do no harm: intentionally shortening lives of patients without their explicit request in Belgium’. His paper deals with very important matters of life and death, however its concept usage is in part misleading. For instance, the fact that medical murder takes place both in Belgium and the Netherlands is missed. Cohen-Almagor calls such acts ‘worrying’ and considers them to be ‘abuse’. However, it remains an open question whether or not there can be such a thing as legitimate murder in a medical context. From the combined perspectives of justice and the duty to end unbearable suffering, there might be. Thus, key arguments for euthanasia are also prominent in an argument for medical murder.

  • Euthanasia
  • Autonomy
  • Bills, Laws and Cases
  • Care of the Dying Patient
  • End-of-life

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