The findings are likely to inflame concern that any move to legalise assisted suicide or euthanasia in the UK would leave vulnerable people dangerously exposed.
The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), suggests that almost half of Belgium’s euthanasia deaths may be carried out on patients who have not asked for their lives to be ended.
It revealed that 248 nurses, representing almost a fifth of the nurses interviewed, had cared for euthanasia patients.
And nearly 50 per cent of these, some 120 nurses, had been involved in killing patients without their ‘explicit request’.
Dr Peter Saunders, Director of the pro-life group Care Not Killing, cautioned: ‘We should take a warning from this that wherever you draw the line, people will go up to it and beyond it’.
He added: ‘Once you have legalised voluntary euthanasia, involuntary euthanasia