Monday, January 14, 2013

Belgian twins euthanized out of fear becoming blind.

To preface my blog article about the recent articles concerning the practice of euthanasia in Belgium, one needs to acknowledge that the Quebec government is considering legalizing Belgian style euthanasia through the back-door

If Quebec legalizes euthanasia, will it result in similar abuses?

The Daily Mail newspaper in the UK published an article today that that was written by James Rush and Damien Gayle and titled: Deaf twins who discovered that they were going blind are euthanized in Belgium hospital

On December 14, 2012, identical twin brothers who were born deaf died by euthanasia at the Belgium University Hospital in Jette, even though they were not sick, they were not yet blind, and they had lived a productive life together. They died by lethal injection. The article states:
Euthanasia is legal under Belgian law if those making the decision can make their wishes clear and are suffering unbearable pain, according to a doctor's judgement. ...
But this case was unusual as neither twin was suffering extreme physical pain or was terminally ill. 
Marc & Eddy Verbessem
The reported that the identical  twin brothers, Marc & Eddy Verbessem, took two years to find a hospital that was willing to approve their lethal injection. The article stated:
"After enlisting the support of their local doctor, it took the twins almost two years to find a medical institution to administer a lethal injection after being turned down by their local hospital."
The National Post reported that the parents and brother of Marc & Eddy tried to convince them not to die by euthanasia. The article quoted their older brother Dirk, to have stated:
The twins had spent their entire lives together, sharing a flat while both working as cobblers and could communicate only with special sign language understood by each other and their immediate family. 
“They lived together, did their own cooking and cleaning. You could eat off the floor. Blindness would have made them completely dependent. They did not want to be in an institution,” said Mr Verbessem. 
“I sometimes think, if they had their own wives and children, perhaps they would have had something to live for.” 
“I tried to talk them out of it even at the last moment,” said their brother. “Together with my parents, I said goodbye.
A Reuters news article explained how the Belgian law allowed the brothers to die by euthanasia, even though they weren't sick or dying. The article stated:
A patient must be an adult, capable of making a judgment, and the wish to die must be voluntary, overwhelming and repeated. The patient must also be suffering persistent and unbearable mental or physical pain beyond medical help.

In addition, the condition must be serious and incurable, and have been brought on by illness or injury.

“Unbearable suffering can be mental as well as physical,” the hospital spokesman said. “The brothers were inseparable. They lived together and had the same job.” He said the brothers died on Dec. 14 and that their family supported their wishes.
Therefore a person who is physically healthy but experiencing mental suffering qualifies for death by lethal injection.

An article in the Daily Mail reported that the 45 year old twins died by euthanasia only days before the ruling socialist government announced plans to expand the Belgian euthanasia law to include children with disabilities and people with dementia or Alzheimer's. The article stated:
Just days after the twins were killed Belgium's ruling Socialists tabled a legal amendment which would allow the euthanasia of children and Alzheimer's sufferers.
Alex Schadenberg responded to the Belgian socialist party announcement of plans to extend euthanasia by writing this article.

These men were not suffering, they were not sick but they were deemed to be "better off dead."

The problem with giving doctors the right to euthanize their patients is that it creates new social and personal pressure for people who could be supported by non-lethal means.

What is occurring in Belgium is the logical extension of legalizing euthanasia. If it is acceptable to kill one group of people in society by euthanasia then it will soon become acceptable to kill other groups of people in society by euthanasia.

The National Federation of the Blind in the US condemned the euthanasia of these men.
To learn more about the practice of euthanasia in Belgium, it is helpful to read the article by Peter Saunders, the campaign director for the Care NOT Killing Alliance in the UK analyses experience of euthanasia in Belgium over the past 10 years.

You should also read the article by American bioethicist, Wesley Smith, entitled: Belgium euthanasia: Off the Moral Cliff.

Alex Schadenberg wrote an article in 2011 concerning the euthanasia trends in Belgium that was titled: Euthanasia is out-of-control in Belgium.

The Daily Mail article concludes by stating that in 2011 there were 1133 reported cases of euthanasia in Belium.

It is important to note that a Belgium studies indicates that up to 47% of all euthanasia deaths go unreported.

The book, Exposing Vulnerable People to Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide by Alex Schadenberg uncovers the data proving that unreported euthanasia deaths and the abuse of the euthanasia laws in jurisdictions where it is legal, such as euthanasia deaths without request, not only occurs but represents a threat to vulnerable patients.

Order the book: Exposing Vulnerable People to Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. Link.


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wrightinottawa said...

I am crying right now. What is this world coming to. I'm trained to work with the disable and exceptional needs. My best memories of life are hanging out with kids in wheelchairs and helping them met their personal goals. Maybe what's needed is more assimilation between able and disable people.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Dear Wrightinottawa:

I agree, my cousin was born deaf and went to a special school where a deaf friend of hers later became blind. The person adapted.

My son is autistic. Will he also be considered "better off dead."

Brandi said...

This is horrible!