Under the 2002 Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide Act Dutch doctors can assist the suicide of a patient whose suffering is “unbearable, with no prospect of improvement” and if there is “no reasonable alternative in the patient’s situation” . However doctors are not infallible and their failure in such cases could lead to unnecessary death of patients, just because a doctor may lack the tools to deal with a patient's mental health problems, does not mean euthanasia should be a considered option. In the words of Dutch psychiatrist Dr Frank Koerselman, “How could I know - how could anybody know - that [Aurelia Brouwer's] death wish was not a sign of her psychiatric disease? ... the fact that one can rationalise about it, does not mean it's not a sign of the disease" .
Brouwers was a very ill woman who needed a lot of help, however while crying out for that help all she found was two doctors who agreed with her that there was no hope. She also found 'fans', people that supported her suicide online and encouraged her, and she slipped through a large hole in the Dutch social 'safety net' and legal system. Patients need doctors to represent hope at all costs, not to cater to their psychological delusions, doctors are not meant to give up hope but to represent hope to their patients against all the odds, doctors should hope to reach psychiatric patients not just give up on them. This case represents a gaping hole in the Netherland's legal framework of assisted suicide and mental health care, and this urgently needs reform.