Monday, August 28, 2017

German nurse may have killed 84 people.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

If you think that safeguards can control euthanasia or that legalizing euthanasia will eliminate medical killings, think again.

First: Euthanasia laws lack effective third-party oversight. All of the laws require two doctors to approve euthanasia or assisted suicide (in Canada nurse practitioners can approve) and once death occurs all of the laws require the physician who carries out the act to self-report the act. No third-party oversight or witness at the time of the death is required. Physicians and nurse practitioners do not self-report abuse of the law.

Second: The abuse of the law that already occurs is usually not reported because the medical system lacks effective oversight and when abuse is uncovered, they rarely report the problem to the legal authorities, often based on fear of lawsuits. Just read about the Elizabeth Wettlauffer case in Ontario.

Now, a former German nurse who was convicted of killing 2 patients between 2000 - 2005 and later found responsible for 33 deaths is suspected of killing 84 people. Deutche Well news reported:
Niels Högel 
Following a three-year probe into all patients under Niels Högel's care, investigators revealed on Monday that the former nurse was responsible for 84 more deaths than initially thought.
Högel, who is already serving two separate prison sentences, was found to have injected patients with cardiovascular medication at hospitals in the northern towns of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst between 1999 and 2005. His aim was to induce heart failure or circulatory collapse before successfully resuscitating his patients to impress his colleagues. 
He was sentenced in 2008 to seven-and-a-half years for attempted murder after he was discovered trying to give an overdose to a patient. He was then jailed for life in 2015 after being found guilty on six counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one charge of battery after his "trick" failed to work. 
However, prosecutors alleged that he had likely killed many more people but kept the charges low to make their case easier to prove. 
During the 2015 trial, Högel also admitted to a psychologist to killing 30 people while working at the clinic in Delmenhorst, having injected the medication into at least 60 patients. Last year, prosecutors estimated the total number of deaths to be 43.

Over three years, investigators said they exhumed and probed 134 bodies for the traces of Högel's cardiovascular medication, raising the number of suspected killings to a further 84.

Oldenburg Police Chief Johann Kühme said the sheer scale of Högel's crimes "leaves us speechless," adding that some cases will never be proved as the bodies had since been cremated. "And as if all that were not enough, we must realize that the real dimension of the killings by Högel is likely many times worse."

The police chief also faulted local health authorities who failed to act as it allegedly came apparent that the death rate at Delmenhorst hospital's intensive care unit almost doubled while Högel worked there. "If the people responsible at the time, particularly at the Oldenburg clinic but also later in Delmenhorst, hadn't hesitated to alert authorities - for example police, prosecutors -" Högel could have been apprehended sooner, Kühme said.
In the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been legal since 2001, a study of deaths in the Netherlands found that 431 people died an assisted death without explicit request in 2015. 

A study examining deaths in the Flanders region of Belgium, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002, found that there were more than 1000 assisted deaths without explicit request in 2013

The only way to protect people is by prohibiting euthanasia and assisted suicide and closely monitoring the medical use of drugs and potential medical abuse.

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