Thursday, March 19, 2015

More than 1000 Belgian deaths were hastened without explicit request in 2013.

By Alex Schadenberg
Alex Schdenberg
Executive Director Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

Contrary to the Supreme Court decision that struck down Canada's laws that protect people from assisted death, in Belgium, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002, a significant number people are dying by euthanasia without request.

Yesterday I wrote an article about the study published in the NEJM on March 19, 2015 on the experience with euthanasia in Flanders Belgium.  The study sent 6188 questionnaires to the physician who certified death certificates in the first half of 2013. The researchers received 3751 responses representing a 60.6% rate of return. The data indicated that 4.6% of all deaths were euthanasia and .05% of all deaths were assisted suicide.

This study found that 1.7% of deaths in the Flanders region of Belgium, in 2013, were intentionally hastened without explicit request. A similar study in 2007 found that 1.8% of deaths in the Flanders region of Belgium were hastened without explicit request, meaning that the problem continues.

Since there are 61,621 deaths in Flanders in 2013 and since the study found that 1.7% of all deaths were hastened without explicit request, therefore more than 1000 deaths were hastened without explicit request in 2013 in Flanders.

The Supreme Court of Canada assisted dying decision stated that abuse of euthanasia laws are anecdotal. A previous Belgian study in 2007 found that 1.8% of all deaths were hastened without explicit consent and this new Belgian study (2013) found that 1.7% of all deaths were hastened without explicit consent representing no statistical change in Belgium.

The Associated Press article interviewed Belgian ethicist Freddy Mortier. The article stated:
Mortier was not happy, however, that the 'hastening of death without explicit request from patients,' which can happen when a patient slumbers into unconsciousness or has lost the capacity for rational judgment, stood at 1.7 percent of cases in 2013. In the Netherlands, that figure was 0.2 percent.
People need to recognize that euthanasia or assisted suicide laws will be abused. Will assisted death be your choice or will it be imposed on you?


Doctors From Hell said...

I've been trying to warn everyone on talkplatelets since 2012, they are killing us, no one would listen, that my wife's death was hastened RCW.70.122.90 in washington state by doctor's and responders, now I have proof from police two doctors issued the do not resuscitate order without ever asking, then when the emergency room nurse told responders my wife was DNR they turned and walked out without helping.

Christl Lowie said...

I appreciate your article, it's always nessecary to look at both sides, and although miss use is a concern, I know of a case in Belgium where a perfectly healthy woman did not want to live anymore after the death of her husband..I have a problem with healthy people wanting to be euthanized, nevertheless, I believe that that percentage you and the article speak about were all terminal and it was only a matter of time.
I still think it should be the individual 's choice.
My mother has altzeimers and always expressed that she would not want to live under those circumstances, but she never properly applied for euthanasia , needles to say, she wil have to sit lifeless in that chair untill she dies and all she does is cry all day ! It's heartbreaking to have to watch her suffer, my mom is in Belgium and could have had her wish ! She is 85 years old and has no quality of life left, NONE,
So no, in my experience they would not hasten death it in my mothers case..thanks for listening ,

Alex Schadenberg said...

Dear Christi:

The data from the study is accurate. My point is that your concept of individual choice is really an illusion. Some people "choose" to die and others are killed.

As for your mother, she needs love and support. Having Alzheimer's doesn't make her any less human.

Unknown said...

It sounds like they are not taking care of her needs. She sounds depressed beyond having dementia. Has anyone ever thought about helping her depression? There are treatments t g at actually help depression. Death is not one of them.