Monday, September 29, 2014

Netherland 2013 euthanasia report - 15% increase, euthanasia for psychiatric problems and dementia.

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

The 2013 Netherlands euthanasia report was released today indicating a 15% increase of reported euthanasia deaths. There were also 42 assisted deaths for people with psychiatric problems and 97 assisted deaths for people with dementia. Assisted deaths refer to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The 2013 report indicated that there were 4829 reported assisted deaths which was up from 4188 in 2012. As bad as it is, there are also unreported assisted deaths.

Every five year the Netherlands does a meta-analysis of the euthanasia law. In 2010 the study was published in the Lancet indicated that 23% of all assisted deaths were unreported in the Netherlands, which was up from 20% in 2005 report. Since the under-reporting of euthanasia in the Netherlands represents (20% - 23%) of all euthanasia deaths, therefore it is likely that the actual number of euthanasia deaths is (965 - 1100) deaths higher.

The number of reported euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands is continually increasing.
Theo Boer, a Dutch ethicist who had been a 9 year member of a euthanasia regional review committee recently wrote an article explaining why he has changed his mind and now opposes euthanasia. He explained how the Netherlands law has expanded its reasons for euthanasia and how the number of euthanasia deaths was constantly increasing turning euthanasia into a perceived right rather than an exception.

The reasons for euthanasia continues to expand in the Netherlands. For instance:

EPC predicted that there would be a continuous increase in the number and reasons for euthanasia after the Netherlands euthanasia lobby launched six mobile euthanasia teams.

The mobile euthanasia teams claimed that they would fill the "unmet demand" for euthanasia for people with chronic depression (mental pain), people with disabilities, people with dementia and loneliness, and for those whose request for euthanasia was declined by their physician.

Dutch ethicist, Theo Boer, stated in his recent article that: 

I used to be a supporter of legislation. But now, with twelve years of experience, I take a different view. 
Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is not likely to ever go back in again.
We need to heed the warning from Theo Boer. 

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