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Table 3 Examples of perceived complexities described by SCEN physicians during the most difficult consultation, 2015

From: Complexities in consultations in case of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide: a survey among SCEN physicians

Patient characteristics
“A vital man; he still walked and cycled”
“A young patient with a medical situation that was hard to describe; the patient was critical towards me and was resistant to have a conversation”
“Patient had reoccurring doubts about the euthanasia; at moments she seemed convinced, but later she had doubts”
Assessment of the due care criteria
“The patient wanted a judgment if euthanasia was possible beforehand; at the time of consultation, unbearable suffering or a request were not present”
“The patient was adequate in his response capacities, especially in the presence of relatives. However, when I talked to him alone, the characteristics of his dementia became very clear”
“I found the unbearable suffering hard to assess. He said unbearable suffering, but there was still a lot that he enjoyed to do”
Patient’s relatives
“The partner was really sad; his vison was not crystallized; paid a lot of attention to”
“They were angry; the euthanasia was already promised. Due to a gastrointestinal bleeding, the situation was further worsened, but they still demanded the euthanasia”
“Disagreement between the children about their mother’s wish”
Health professionals
“I felt pressured. The attending physician wasn’t open for alternative treatment options and advice from me”
“The general practitioner was unclear towards me, the patient and himself”
“Really odd consult request. Both the general practitioner and the psychiatrist knew that the patient wouldn’t meet the due care criteria. I felt used”
Other aspects
“No experience with a young man taking such a decision”
“I notice resistance in myself with these chronic physical problems combined with personality problems. Is this the purpose of the euthanasia law?”
“For myself heart-breaking. Given the situation, I supported it completely. I experience less resistance with a 90 year old with cancer [case concerning a young woman]”