Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Former Belgian College of Physicians & Surgeons VP warns that euthanasia may be approved for "fear of death."

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition



Ivo Uyttendaele, the Former Belgian College Physicians & Surgeons VP argues in his new book, De Wetstrijd that abuse cannot be prevented under the current Belgian (& Dutch) euthanasia practice.

An interview with Uyttendaele published in the Knack on November 9 concerned his new book on euthanasia. Uyttendaele states in the Knack interview (google translated):

Initially it was about life termination by the attending physician at the request of the unbearable sufferer in a terminal phase of life but gradually it was accepted that also non-terminal patients could suffer unbearably and then the unbearable sufferer of psychiatric patients and if the unbearable suffering was not yet happening. If the condition itself was present, it could also be due to the prospect of a decaying end due to a creeping illness. The very first clinical signs of a malignant disorder have been accepted for years as the cause of unbearable suffering, so the question arises as to whether the genetic evidence of ever having a serious disorder can also be accepted as the cause of unbearable suffering and the resulting demand for euthanasia. How far are people from the step that euthanasia will be recommended as a remedy for unbearable suffering from fear of agony?
Ivo Uyttendaele
According to the Knack interview, Uyttendaele states that the medical model for euthanasia is not capable of controlling the law. He states (google translated):

It is strange that the protagonists of euthanasia who are eager to adopt the epithet of progressive, continue to swear by an outdated medical model as if they do not know that the intolerability of existence is better understood and resolved when man is not only a biological phenomenon but is also viewed as a being whose health is partly determined by psychological and social factors.
Uyttendaele comments, in the Knack on the concept of unbearable suffering:
Unbearable suffering is the obligatory formula that every applicant must express in order to be eligible for euthanasia. The suicidal balance, who is hopeless and seriously ill and, after rationally considering the pros and cons of further life, who has been stripped of all emotion and opts for a quick end to increase the chance of a successful organ donation, must also explain that he suffers unbearably as if sublimation can only be driven by drives and psychological suffering cannot be suppressed by reason.
Comments in the Healthcare Executive (BE) on Uyttendaele's book emphasize the further expansion of euthanasia to genetic reasons. The article states (google translated):
In Belgium too, requests for euthanasia are granted at the very first signs of dementia as the prospect of deterioration is accepted as the cause of unbearable and hopeless suffering. On the basis of the same reasoning, a request for euthanasia because of the genetic evidence that chorea will be obtained from Huntington should also be granted since the prospect is just as bad as when the first signs of dementia appear: a longer time interval cannot be the essence be in the reasoning. 
The question is whether euthanasia can, upon suffering caused by a genetically determined prospect of terrible misery, such as breasts, fallopian tubes and ovaries, be removed on request from an unfavorable genetic code. Euthanatophils will say that this should be possible, but euthanatophobes will wonder if fear of what will happen if acceptable grounds for euthanasia mean that fear of death will soon suffice? It has never been investigated whether the prevention of fear of death is not the basic motive for euthanasia in some people: not only regulating the funeral but also the hour of death and also the hour of euthanasia.
The article in Healthcare Executive concludes:
Hopelessness was initially the domain of science but now the phrase from the law "dominates with the patient", so finding a doctor who finds sensible therapy useless when treatments are fed up is the solution: autonomy of the patient is more decisive than the art of healing. 
The free interpretation of a liberal law with only a symbolic check on implementation has given the doctors unlimited power so that it is now time to protect "the fragile person" * against potential abuse of power.
Uyttendaele is arguing that the medical model of euthanasia has led to euthanasia for people who fear future suffering and which may lead to euthanasia based on genetic evidence. He suggests that genetic evidence opens up the issue of fear of future suffering from one's genetic code. He then suggests that this step may also lead to extending euthanasia to fear of death.

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