Monday, February 13, 2012

Death on Wheels - euthanasia 'home delivered' in the Netherlands

Paul Russell
Paul Russell, the leader of HOPE in Australia, wrote this blog titled Death on Wheels. He makes some interesting comments about the plan by the Netherlands euthanasia lobby (NVVE). I thought is was worth sharing.
Late last year we reported that the Dutch Minister of Health, Edith Schippers was considering a move to create mobile euthanasia services in the Netherlands. Home delivery – Dutch style!

In early February, media reports confirmed that the Netherlands Right-to-Die Association (NVVE) plan to open the first of six ‘clinics’ to expedite an expected additional thousand deaths per year. Operating under the Orwellian title Levenseinde kliniek (Life Clinic), this ‘door-to-door’ service will be offered for those who ‘can’t convince their regular doctor to kill them’ or for those who ‘have been refused help from doctors for “ethical” reasons.’

The clinics will be funded from NVVE membership and donations which are tax deductable. Their website suggests that the mobile teams will take a ‘multidisciplinary approach’ and interview the patient with ‘multiple conversations’ over some time. The NVVE stresses that it will abide by the ‘Dutch Guidelines’, the World Federation of Right to Die Societies spokesman adding: “doctors will have to comply with the same ‘due care criteria’ as ‘regular’ doctors.”

Yet, the Federation of Dutch Physicians sounded a warning saying that, “In the worst cases, people could die who perhaps could have received some other help.”

Even if we were to concede the possibility that this new move is motivated by an erroneous sense of compassion or, perhaps, the false notion that a right-to-die does exists (which even the European Court of Human Rights denies), there still remain many questions.

Is it likely that anyone will be refused access to the services of this clinic given the fact that it’s sole raison d’être is to kill?

How can the ‘process’ possibly guard against coercion when the appointments take place in the home setting and the only possible contrary view, being that of the family doctor, is dismissed by the very modus operandi of this death peddling outfit?

Might it also be the case that the local doctors refusal to kill on ‘ethical grounds’ may have more to do with factors such as depression, anxiety or other treatable problems than an ideological or religious taboo?

How likely is it that, given its private funding by right-to-die supporters, that success in terms of a business model will be measured primarily by the number of deaths? Dutch statistics point clearly to an almost routine flaunting of the euthanasia ‘guidelines’. It would be naive in the extreme to think that a privately funded outfit would report its own medicos for abuse of the law.

What we are seeing here is a rapid deterioration of medical ethics. Only a nation immersed in a death culture could fail to see this development as anti-human, as detestable and undignified. It is a sinister form of discrimination based on age and disability; a callous utilitarian view of human existence - privatised and tax deductable! And just in case you’re tempted to think this is a free service to a grateful nation, the website does muse over the possibility of charging customers – in advance one assumes!

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