Thursday, June 11, 2020

Belgian nursing Professor exposes euthanasia practice.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition



Eric Vermeer
I found an interesting Spanish article concerning Eric Vermeer, a Belgian professor of nursing, psychotherapist and specialist in palliative care and psychiatry. Vermeer wrote a chapter in a book that was recently published featuring 10 euthanasia experts. I google translated the article from Spanish.

The article explains that in the past 10 years the number of reported euthanasia deaths has tripled from 954 to 2655. Those numbers do not include the euthanasia deaths in Belgium that are not reported. The article then states that in 2019 17% of the reported euthanasia deaths were done to people who were not terminally ill. The article states:

In addition, it is known that in 2019 at least some 450 who died (17%) were not terminally ill, that is, they did not have diseases that were rapidly approaching death. That, is in the official figures. Presumably, there were many more in undeclared euthanasia.
Vermeer refers to studies indicating that almost half of the Belgian euthanasia deaths are unreported and he confirms that this remains a problem by refering to Dr Marc Cosyns who, 5 years ago, said in the Senate that he had long since stopped declaring his euthanasia deaths and he also stopped calling another colleague to validate the euthanasia request as required by law.
 
Belgian rally against euthanasia
In reference to the fact that after 20,000 reported euthanasia deaths there have only been 2 conflicting cases, Vermeer states that:

The "controls" are carried out by euthanizing physicians and supporters of this practice. What is clear is that the users (that is, the dead) do not complain after the "service".
Vermeer is stating that the euthanasia committee is composed of euthanasia doctors and supporters. He says that it is hard to uncover abuse since the dead don't complain.

Vermeer explains that euthanasia began as a "last resort" for terminal states and excruciating pain, but now it works for everything and doctors and even nurses offer it to vulnerable and depressed people very lightly. He provides a few examples to illustrate his point.

- A lady with severe cancer, but is still a long way from death; She complains about her alcoholic husband and her twenty-something daughters who do not visit her. Her attending physician asks her: "Given your health and family situation, do you not think that euthanasia could be the least bad solution?"

- A divorced woman with chronic depression has attempted suicide three times; the psychiatric nurse, when she arrives at the hospital after her last suicide attempt, says "do you know you can request euthanasia?"; the depressive suicidal woman asks the nurse for more information and she gives her the data of an association promoting euthanasia.

- An older lady has been cared for in a residence for years; a stroke has just left her speechless, although she is conscious; An assistant, in an evaluation meeting of the team that cares for her, comments naturally: "Can't we propose euthanasia to this woman? She is greatly diminished after that attack"
Vermeer explains that the Belgian law does not permit doctors or nurses to propose euthanasia, but they do it anyway.

Vermeer then examines euthanasia for psychiatric reasons in Belgium. He states:
In 2001, when the Belgian euthanasia law was being debated, the Justice Commission that promoted it ensured that "patient's with only psychiatric suffering can never lead to euthanasia, patients with dementia or psychiatric disorders do not fall within the scope of the law" (Descheemaecker Report of the Justice Commission).

But in the 2014-2015 report, 108 people were euthanized for depression, early-stage dementia, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anorexia...

It is another example of the dangerous slope: the standard that was promised now accepts euthanizing people who are depressed (and suicidal).
He provides several examples of psychiatric euthanasia cases:
The case of a woman who was narrowly saved. Laura, 24 years old, with chronic depression, requests euthanasia. Three doctors say he has "irreversible psychic suffering." The month required by law passes, the doctor arrives to euthanize her and she says no, that she no longer wishes to die.

A bipolar girl fails in her second suicide attempt and the doctor on duty suggests euthanizing her. The girl is in a rage: "Don't you see that I'm nothing but shit? My adoptive parents have rejected me and I'm alone in the world!"

Nancy, a woman who was not loved by her mother and kept repeating to her "I wish you had been a boy." Nancy Verheist had a sex change, went on to declare herself "Nathan", but her mother still did not want to. So Nancy asked for euthanasia, and the Belgian State, instead of attending to her psycho-emotional problems, undertook to eliminate it medically in 2013.
Vermeer is concerned about euthanasia for psychiatric reasons. The article states:
Vermeer, like other experts in psychic health, knows that the concept of "irreversible psychic suffering" is scientifically very problematic.

Also, the law requies a person be "capable and conscious" to request euthanasia ... is a depressed person or a psychotic "capable and conscious"?
Links to more articles on euthanasia in Belgium.

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