Thursday, April 13, 2017

Netherlands 2016 euthanasia deaths increase by another 10%

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Dutch News reported that the number of reported assisted deaths increased by 10% in 2016 to 6091 reported assisted deaths, representing 4% of all deaths in the Netherlands up from 5561 reported assisted deaths in 2015. There were 5875 euthanasia deaths and 216 assisted suicide deaths.

Since 2006 there has been a 317% increase in assisted deaths in the Netherlands.

There were increases in euthanasia deaths based on dementia or psychiatric reasons. There were 141 people who died by euthanasia based on dementia in 2016, up from 109 in 2015. There were 60 people who died by euthanasia for psychiatric reasons in 2016, up from 56 in 2015. There were also 244 people who died by euthanasia based on "advanced age."

In 2016, there were 10 cases referred by a Regional Euthanasia Control and Evaluation Commission for investigation.

Every five years the Netherlands conducts a major study on euthanasia. The 2010 study that was published in the Lancet (July 2012) indicated that 23% of all assisted deaths were unreported in the Netherlands. If this trend continued, that may have been 1400 unreported assisted deaths in 2016.

Netherlands euthanasia news stories in 2016:

In January 2016, the Netherlands decided to extend euthanasia to people with severe dementia

A study published on Feb 10, 2016 in the Journal of Psychiatry concerning euthanasia for psychiatric reasons in the Netherlands uncovered significant concerns. According to researcher Scott Kim:

in one EAS case, a woman who died by euthanasia was in her 70s without health problems had decided, with her husband, that they would not live without each other. After her husband died, she lived a life described as a "living hell" that was "meaningless." 
A consultant reported that this woman "did not feel depressed at all. She ate, drank and slept well. She followed the news and undertook activities."

In May, the Netherlands euthanasia clinic lethally injected a woman who was sexually abused as a child.

In October, the Netherlands government stated that it planned to extend euthanasia to people who are not sick or dying but claim to have a "completed life." Recently, the Dutch Medical Association opposed changing the euthanasia law.

In November, a Dutch journalist reported that he was writing a book about his brother who died by euthanasia based on chronic alcoholism.

In January 2017, a Regional euthanasia Review Committee decided that a forced euthanasia on a woman with dementia, where the doctor sedated the woman by secretly putting the drugs in her coffee and then had the family hold her down to enable the lethal injection, did not follow the rules but found that it was done in "good faith."

The Netherlands euthanasia law continues to expand. Once the law allows one person to kill another person, then the line has been crossed and the only remaining question is - who can be killed?

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