Sunday, March 3, 2019

Belgium 2018 euthanasia report. 247% increase since 2010

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Belgian euthanasia protest (2014)
The 2018 Belgian euthanasia report, released on February 28, indicates that in 2018 there were 2357 reported assisted deaths, up from 2309. The report suggests that the number of deaths are stable. 
There were 954 reported assisted deaths in 2010 representing a 247% increase in 8 years.
Belgian 2017 euthanasia report. Deaths continue to increase and children are dying by euthanasia.
Tine Neys (center) died by euthanasia in 2010.
The slowed growth in euthanasia deaths is likely based on the courts agreeing to examine some of the most controversial cases. For instance, Europe's top human rights court, in January agreed to hear the case of a depressed Belgian woman who died by euthanasia and last November three Belgian doctors were charged in the euthanasia death for psychiatric reasons.


Since 2010, Belgium has extended the law and expanded the reasons that it approves euthanasia by re-interpreting the law.

In 2018 there were 57 (2.4%) of deaths for mental or behavioral conditions, 83 (3.5%) for psychiatric reasons alone and 1% of the reported deaths were incompetent people who had made a previous request. No children were reported to die by euthanasia in 2018.

There may be many more assisted deaths in Belgium.

Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) (March 19, 2015) on the Belgian euthanasia practice found that in 2013:
  • 4.6% of all deaths in the Flanders region were euthanasia.
  • .05% of all deaths in the Flanders region were assisted suicide.
  • 1.7% of all deaths in the Flanders region were hastened without explicit request.
Comparing the data from the 2013 NEJM study to the official 2013 Belgian euthanasia commission data one must conclude that almost half of the euthanasia deaths in 2013 were not reported to the commission.

The NEJM study concluded that 1.7% of all deaths were hastened without explicit request in 2013 representing more than 1000 deaths.

Ludo Vanopdenbosch
In 2017, Dr Ludo Vanopdenbosch, a palliative care specialist, resigned from the Belgian euthanasia commission after the commission approved the death of a woman who could not consent to euthanasia. Vanopdenbosch explained in his resignation letter that:

The most striking example took place at a meeting in early September, ... when the group discussed the case of a patient with severe dementia, who also had Parkinson's disease. To demonstrate the patient's lack of competence, a video was played showing what Vanopdenbosch characterized as "a deeply demented patient."  
The patient, whose identity was not disclosed, was euthanized at the family's request... There was no record of any prior request for euthanasia from the patient.
The Associated Press revealed a rift between Dr. Wim Distelmans, co-chair of the euthanasia commission, and Dr. Lieve Thienpont, a psychiatrist who is actively doing euthanasia for psychiatric reasons. Distelmans suggested that some of Thienpont's patients might have been killed without meeting all the legal requirements. After the AP report, more than 360 doctors, academics and others have signed a petition calling for tighter controls on euthanasia for psychiatric patients.

I hope that the Belgian people will wake-up and realize how crazy the euthanasia ideology has become and recognize the social and human destruction that euthanasia has caused.

2 comments:

LionelR said...

Having now been actively been involved in the Belgian battle against Euthanasia, since about 25 years, I can see some encouraging signs. Not with the general public yet or, very sadly, also with the Belgian media bias, but behind the screens. Since the first version of the law was voted in 2002 much has happened and although the number cases skyrocketed, there is the beginning of a change in mood noticeable. More and more people are starting to put question marks behind what is going on. The time of the all-powerful reign of pro-euthanasia lobby groups like LEIF has come to an end and a series of rifts can be noticed in the coalition for Euthanasia. And although the reporting inside Belgium has been very scarce, recently the Belgian media were forced to bring out the news Lieve Thienpont having been referred to the Assisen Court in Gent (highest criminal court). This was mainly due to a report of the liberal Washington Post. The most powerful pro-euthanasia man Wim Distelmans who is President of LEIF and of the Parliamentary Commission on Euthanasia is not only said to be linked to the Lieve Thienpont case, but it is also said that he might even have to appear in the trial as a witness. He is also implicated in the case now going to be treated at the European Human Rights Court in Strassburg. Today people are asking questions in meetings organised by LEIF about what is happening and the sometimes angry reactions by the pro-euthanasia panel members, shows that they feel their 'all-mighty' reign is coming to an end. But there is still a long way to go before the law will again be put into question - there is even a long way to go before the number euthanasia cases in Belgium will be stabilised, not talking about reducing or stopping them. The battle continues but there is a dim light at the end of the tunnel.
Lionel Roosemont

Alex Schadenberg said...
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