Doctor acquitted of murder in landmark Netherlands euthanasia case

(CNN)A nursing home doctor has been acquitted of the murder of an elderly woman with severe dementia following a closely watched euthanasia trial in the Netherlands.

The court in The Hague concluded on Wednesday that the unidentified doctor, who has since retired, carried out euthanasia in accordance with the law and had not been negligent.
"The Court concludes that the doctor ended the patient's life by administering euthanasia at the explicit and serious request of the patient," a statement from the court said.
Prosecutors had argued that the doctor did not do enough to confirm consent in ending the life of the 74-year-old woman in 2016.
    The woman had written a directive asking for euthanasia in the event she was admitted to a nursing home with dementia and she thought the time was right. But, once she was admitted to the home, she gave "mixed signals," according to an August 26 statement from the Public Prosecution Service.
    The court said the doctor had not been negligent and she had spoken to the patient's physician, husband and daughter as well as consulting with the treatment team in the nursing home, the patient's psychologist and a consultant from an end-of-life clinic.
    Prosecutors had not sought a punishment for the doctor, saying it did not question her good intentions but said that the case raised important legal questions.
    In the Netherlands, euthanasia is strictly defined as "the active termination of life at a patient's voluntary and well-informed request," according to the Royal Dutch Medical Association. It was legalized in 2002, making the country the first in the world to authorize