A recent article by Belgian Professor Tom Mortier & Dr Georges Casteur stated that members of the Belgian euthanasia Control and Evaluation Commission appear to be in a conflict of interest. The article also stated that the Commission is stacked with pro-euthanasia members and the reason there has never been an attempted prosecution for an abuse of the Belgian euthanasia law is because it requires a two-thirds vote from the Commission.
The National Post article states that Distelmans has become a "hero" in Belgium for his involvement in the controversial euthanasia deaths. The article states that Distelmans wants to see the Belgian euthanasia law expanded to include children:
In an interview at a clinic he runs in the Brussels suburb of Wemmel, Dr. Distelmans defended his actions and argued that Belgian euthanasia law — which some argue has opened the door to abuses — should be expanded to cover children and people suffering from dementia.
Dr. Distelmans, who is a professor at the Brussels university VUB, opened the ULteam clinic with colleagues two years ago to provide a sympathetic ear to patients seeking euthanasia. Its name is a play on the Dutch word for ultimate, or final.
“There are still a lot of people suffering unbearably because they ask for euthanasia and they don’t get it. That’s the reason we started an emergency consultation.”
Last year, during ULteam’s first year of operation, its doctors performed euthanasia on 33 patients, according to Belgian media.In the article Distelmans responded to those who have accused him of seeking attention. The article stated:
Some accuse Dr. Distelmans of courting controversy to build his public profile. He acknowledged that in addition to the Verhelst and Verbessem cases, “there are a lot more borderline cases which are not known.” But he prefers to keep it that way because the publicity “is not good to convince people that euthanasia should be legal.”Distelmans was then reported to have said:
He has not performed a single euthanasia that he has questioned after the fact. “If I hesitate for any reason, I don’t perform euthanasia,” he said. “That is very simple. So for my peace of mind, there is no problem.”The National Post article then acknowledges that, even member of the euthanasia lobby question the power Distelmans has amassed.
In 11 years of existence, all with Dr. Distelmans as co-chairman, the commission has not referred a single case to prosecutors for study. To critics, including one leading euthanasia advocate, Dr. Distelmans has too much influence. “He wants a little too much to be the Pope of euthanasia in Belgium, and that’s not a good thing,” said Marc Van Hoey, a physician and president of the Flemish death-with-dignity group known as RWS.
Chris Gastmans, a professor of medical ethics at the Catholic University of Leuven, said it is dangerous to have so much power concentrated in one person. “He is doing euthanasia very frequently, especially extreme cases, and at the same time he is president of the federal control commission,”The article then reports on the recent meeting of the Belgian Euthanasia Control and Evaluation Committee.
Dr. Distelmans countered that some of the control commission’s 16 members oppose euthanasia, and he is not in a position to dictate decisions. But the outcome of its last meeting is striking. Before meeting, members receive a thick stack of confidential forms providing the attending physician’s explanation for each euthanasia. Among the 172 cases up for review — just over a month’s worth — was the Sept. 30 death of Mr. Verhelst, the transsexual whose story was reported around the world and cited by critics as an example of euthanasia run amok. On the committee, no one batted an eye.The euthanasia death rate increased by 25% in 2012 with 1432 reported cases. It is clear that the number of euthanasia deaths continues to increase in Belgium. In one month they had 172 cases. At that rate Belgium will have approximately 2064 cases in 2013 representing a 40% increase from 2012
Distelmans is committed to further expansion of the Belgian euthanasia law. The article reported:
Dr. Distelmans seeks to push the envelope further. At the moment, “advanced declarations” requesting euthanasia can only be acted upon if a patient falls into an irreversible coma. Dr. Distelmans said people should be able to request euthanasia in the event that they develop dementia. He also argued that minors, currently forbidden from receiving euthanasia, should be eligible if they possess the intellectual maturity to make their own decisions.It is clear that euthanasia is out-of-control in Belgium. The National Post article clearly identifies how Distelmans is doing the controversial euthanasia cases and he is controlling the euthanasia law. Distelmans has become the judge and the executioner.
Recently Professor Etienne Vermeersch, an author of the Belgian euthanasia law admitted that the euthanasia law was designed to include people with disabilities who are not terminally ill and Dr Jan Bernheim, a long-time promoter of euthanasia, who had taught Wim Distelmans, stated that there are problems with the Belgian euthanasia law.
The euthanasia bill in Quebec needs to be defeated. Bill 52 is based on the Belgian euthanasia law. The safeguards in Bill 52 are an illusion and the ever expanding reasons for euthanasia in Belgium, will also occur in Quebec.
Bill 52 in Quebec is not designed to protect vulnerable people but rather it is designed to protect doctors. The definitions in the law are the same as those used in Belgium, that are ambiguous and unenforceable.