July 21, 2024 | 11:30


CAV registers 121 euthanasia requests in three years of the law

Mairenis Gomez

June 25, 2024 | 7:30 pm

This increase in requests reflects the growing acceptance and need for this right, guaranteeing a dignified death to those who require it.

This Tuesday marks three years since the entry into force of the law regulating euthanasia in the Spanish State. In this period, there have been registered 121 requests for medical assistance in dying in the Basque Autonomous Community (CAV), of which 85 have materialized. This data reflects a progressive increase in requests year after year, according to the annual report of the Department of Health of the Basque Government.

Impact of the euthanasia law in the BAC during the first three years

In the first year of the law, 2021, 19 applications were registered in the CAV. Of these, 16 were authorized and 15 were carried out. One application was postponed to 2022 and two people died during the processing process. Additionally, one application was rejected.

In 2022, 40 applications were studied. Of these, 27 were authorized and 24 were carried out, including one authorized in 2021. Five applications were deferred and five people died during the application process. In addition, seven applications were rejected and one person gave up. In 2023, 62 applications were observed. Of these, 48 were authorized and 45 were carried out, with four postponements. An application processed in December 2023 was carried out in January 2024. In addition, five people died during the process and ten applications were rejected.

Analysis of euthanasia requests in 2023

During 2023, of the 62 applications received, 43,5% corresponded to men and 56,5% to women. The average age of applicants is 69 years. The number of applications by Historical Territory and population was as follows: Araba (9 applications), Bizkaia (25 applications) and Gipuzkoa (28 applications).

Furthermore, procedures were initiated by capable patients in 82,3% of cases. Regarding the place where euthanasia is performed, the private home was chosen by 35,5% of the patients, the hospital by 53,3% and a social health center by 11,2%.

Profile of applicants and related medical specialties

The profile of the responsible doctor is mostly that of a primary care doctor (51,6%), similar to what happened in 2022. The specialties of neurology and oncology stand out as the most frequent pathologies for which euthanasia is requested, in accordance with what happens in other countries.

The attached graphs even show the evolution of euthanasia requests in the last three years, highlighting the progressive increase in the number of requests received and made. In addition, a detailed analysis of the authorization and rejection rates of applications is presented, as well as the deaths that occurred during the processing process.

Commitment and improvement in the euthanasia law in the BAC

Without a doubt, the implementation of the euthanasia law in the BAC has allowed many people to exercise their right to a dignified death. However, the increase in requests also raises the need to continue improving procedures and medical care related to euthanasia.

The figures reflect an ongoing commitment by Osakidetza and the Basque Government Health Department to ensure that this right is respected and carried out appropriately. It is essential that constant monitoring and critical evaluation of the law and its application be maintained to ensure that the objectives of dignity and respect for patients are met.

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