A film about ethical dilemmas surrounding euthanasia when a person is legally incapable. But also about love, sadness and letting go of a loved one and wanting to help stop their suffering.
Kees specialises in geriatric medicine. He works on a closed ward of a nursing home, among other places. Willy has been on this ward for over a year. In the beginning, Willy showed a lot of aggressive behaviour, something he had never done before. He receives medication for this, the dosage of which causes him to sleep for almost the entire day. He suffers a great deal from dreams or delusions. Treating Willy with medication to make his life more bearable does not seem to be successful.
Willy’s family has indicated that he has a euthanasia declaration and wonders if this is the right moment to perform the euthanasia. His wife and (foster) children support his living will, but they love their husband and father very much. He is visited by someone at least once a day. Together with Kees, they look into the best solution for Willy.
Which ethical, legal and personal dilemmas will Kees face? And how do Kitty, Willy's wife, and their children deal with Willy's situation?
The documentary introduces you to a topic that is more current than ever . The 'free-spirited baby boom generation' is now reaching a stage where age-related diseases such as dementia are becoming increasingly common. Many people indicate that they absolutely do not want to end up in this situation. Euthanasia for advanced dementia is rare in the Netherlands. Since all the due care requirements of the law must be met, there is only a small group of people eligible for this, and an even smaller group of doctors are willing to actually perform euthanasia. This documentary offers an insight into the complexity of this dilemma for both doctors and families.
Call to action
Would you like to help me make this documentary? Through the use of crowdfunding, I hope to raise a substantial part of the funds for the shooting days, editing, post-production and distribution. I hope that crowdfunding also contributes to my other goal: drawing more attention to this issue.. If you are unable to make a financial contribution,you can help me by actively sharing all online posts and updates within your own network. Do you have access to organisations or agencies that might find this documentary interesting? Then I would appreciate you contacting me. If you have other suggestions, please let me know. Thank you very much for your support!
This is not my first documentary about euthanasia. A previous one entitled A Dignified Death was released in 2018 (www.adignifieddfeath.com) and was also achieved by crowdfunding via Cinecrowd. A Dignified Death is about Eelco de Gooijer. On 23 November 2016, Eelco received euthanasia based on psychological suffering. The doctor who performed euthanasia on Eelco was Kees. I only got to know Kees on the day that Eelco received euthanasia. A few months after Eelco's death, Kees approached me regarding the dilemma he faced within his profession: euthanasia in advanced dementia. Kees wanted to show a a more complete and nuanced picture of this dilemma. This was the initial reason for me wanting to work on this on this documentary.
At the same time, I have a personal reason for doing all this. . When I was 14, I was present when my grandfather died. My grandfather had highly advanced dementia and was in a closed ward. He was 76. All his children (my uncles and aunts) and I were with him on his birthday. After a long period of agony and suffering his last days without food and drink, he died on his birthday while we were with him. Euthanasia was not yet possible at the time and was therefore not discussed. I hope I shall not have to experience this. My wish is that everyone who ends up in an unbearable and hopeless situation will be able to leave life with dignity, assisted by a sympathetic doctor. In my view, Kees is a man who saves lives – the lives of the patients he supports, but also the lives of families and friends of these patients. In my opinion, it should all be about dignity and sincere attention, up to the last breath.
This is what will happen with the documentary
When the documentary is finished, at least 10 screenings will be organised throughout the Netherlands, followed by a conscientious discussion with specialists on this subject. In addition, the film will be submitted to various film festivals in the Netherlands and abroad. The film may be broadcast via a (public) broadcasting corporation. An educational package to support the film is being developed for healthcare organisations and educational institutions. The film will ultimately also be available online.