Thursday, April 8, 2010

Netherlands study promotes greater access to euthanasia

A study from the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL) that was published in the British Journal of General Practice states that:
"The number of requests for euthanasia in the Netherlands has not risen since an act to decriminalise it came into force in 2002."

It is possible that the requests for euthanasia in the Netherlands have not increased but deaths by euthanasia have certainly increased and deaths by sedation and dehydration have sky-rocketed since 2002.

The Nivel study then recommended that euthanasia should be included in a general practitioner's training.

Since most general practitioner's do not euthanize their patients, is the study promoting a euthanasia training module in order to weed out physicians who are not willing to kill their patients?

The Nivel study also suggested that:
"Nursing homes and hospitals should publish policies on euthanasia so patients are able to take it into consideration when choosing their care provider. The researchers say that one benefit of the 2002 act is that it removes any need for secrecy regarding euthanasia."

It appears that Nivel is attempting to increase the availability of euthanasia by promoting nursing homes and physicians who are willing to kill their patients.

Nivel researcher Gé Donker, who is also a physician, was quoted as saying:
"It's (euthanasia) not something any general practitioner enjoys doing. It's always hard to practise euthanasia and it's emotionally taxing for the doctor. You choose the profession to provide optimal care and euthanasia may be a part of it. A doctor only practises euthanasia out of empathy for the patient who requests it."

Dr. Donker should consider that it is difficult for a physician to euthanize their patients because humans appear to have an innate repulsion to killing others. Nivel should be promoting effective care and symptom management for every person in the Netherlands rather than greater access to euthanasia.

Link to the article:

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