Thursday, January 25, 2018

How many botched cases will it take to end euthanasia of the mentally ill?

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Charles Lane
he Washington Post published an excellent article on January 24, 2018 by Charles Lane. Lane, a respected editorial columnist who asks: How many botched cases would it take to end euthanasia for the mentally ill and cognitively impaired?

In his article, Lane examines several documented cases of euthanasia of incompetent or mentally ill people. The first case Lane refers to is the shocking story of a woman with dementia in the Netherlands who resisted dying by euthanasia:

The patient, referred to in official documents only as “2016-85,” had made an advance directive requesting euthanasia in case of dementia. But the directive was ambiguously worded, and she was no longer able to clarify her wishes by the time she was placed in a nursing home — though her husband did request euthanasia for her. 
Despite the lack of a clear expression from the patient, a physician concluded her suffering was unbearable and incurable — though there was no terminal physical illness — and prepared a lethal injection. 
To ensure the patient’s compliance, the doctor gave her coffee spiked with a sedative, and, when the woman still recoiled from the needle, asked family members to hold her down. After 15 minutes were spent by the doctor trying to find a vein, the lethal infusion flowed. 
Neither voluntary, painless nor dignified, this physician-assisted death was referred to prosecutors by the Dutch regulatory commission — with, so far, unknown consequences.
Aurelia (Sarah)
Lane then focuses on the case of Sarah (Aurelia) a physically healthy 29-year-old woman who is scheduled to die by assisted death for on January 26 in the Netherlands. Lane writes:

Nevertheless, a 29-year-old woman, “Sarah,” whose sole medical complaint is serious, nearly lifelong depression and self-harming behavior, has received permission for euthanasia, to take place Friday, according to the RTL Nieuws, a Dutch media outlet . 
29 year old Dutch woman approved for euthanasia for psychiatric reasons. 
She was released from prison in December 2016 after serving 2½ years for arson. She received no therapy while incarcerated and, 12 months later, she persuaded doctors her psychological suffering was unbearable and untreatable. 
“It was a long and difficult road before she finally got permission,” RTL Nieuws observed. “And that is why Sarah wants attention for her story. Not for herself, but for others who also find life psychologically too heavy, have no chance of healing and want to die in a dignified way.”
Lane then focuses on the psychiatric euthanasia deaths in Belgium:
Joris Vandenberghe, a psychiatrist at the University of Leuven, is calling for stricter controls.He complained last year that psychiatric patients have died at the hands of doctors who failed to meet criteria set forth in Belgian law: “I’m convinced that in Belgium, people have died where there were still treatment options and where there was still a chance for years and even decades of life.” 
Support for the practice is still strong, so strong that the Brothers of Charity, a Roman Catholic organization that operates the largest group of psychiatric hospitals in Belgium, has agreed to acquiesce to euthanasia requests — contrary to Vatican policy.
This decision came after a Belgian court ordered a different Catholic institution to pay damages to the family of a 74-year-old terminally ill woman because administrators required her to leave the facility for euthanasia. Religious conscience was no defense, the court ruled.

Lane concludes his article by stating that the World Psychiatric Association has ducked the issue of euthanasia for psychiatric reasons.


Anonymous said...

This sobering article reminds me of a petition I was just asked to sign at CitizenGo, which denounced the fact that in B.C. an Orthodox Jewish woman, who was also a Holocaust survivor was euthanized by a doctor even though it was against her Orthodox Jewish Nursing Homes anti-euthanasia policy & her own beliefs. Understandably, many of the other residents, who also survived the Holocaust, are very upset & worried that they will be next. On the eve of the anniversary of International Holocaust Remembrance day freedom of religion is being denied here in Canada & a woman who bravely survived the Holocaust,died due to our countrys' lack of concern for our Charter Rights & Freedoms, which should protects our freedom of religion & respect our U.N. Human Rights.

Susan said...

Thank you for your response and for sounding the alarm on this incident. I am a pro se plaintiff in the similar death of my dad who was killed in a Plano, TX hospital as a double pneumonia patient in 2012. I have been unable to get a legal jury trial of my peers for this cause. Dad was lethally medicated as part of a DNR with "comfort". That pain meds are breathing depressants are not told to the family. My dad didn't want his breathing tube removed and the respiratory tech ignored me when informed of this, simply telling my brother that I didn';t comprehend. What I didn't comprehend was that the morphine was lethal and the medics never told us of this. They gave this and left on him when they removed his breathing tube. We wanted our dad to live; the medics didn't. They should not be giving lethal medications, regardless. All citizens have a biblical and a constitutional right to life. I am alerting all possible to what has been taking place, after this event, and after researching this and finding out what actually was done to our dad. The local papers' archives have many articles that are proving that this has been happening for decades. I grieve with those to whom this has happened, and pray that together we will stand in the gap to make the representatives legislate against this "comfort" (euthanasia) and for laws that will enforce our rights to life in healthcare facilities.

As for the woman who was incarcerated for arson, the lines between capital punishment and healthcare practice are not to be blurred. The woman paid for her crime and was released. No further measure should be taken against her for her crime. No healthcare facility should kill a person for any reason; this makes them the criminal, not the "depressed" person who wants to die. Thou Shalt Not Kill, says God, in Exodus 20:13. This must be the law of all lands to preserve life for all human beings in healthcare facilities. The laws must prohibit any medic from taking the life of another by any means, and hold them responsible for their actions. This will produce a society that honors God and His laws and safeguards the life of all.

Best regards.