Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Quebec Government continues on the path towards "Belgian Style" euthanasia

CBC news has reported that a Quebec government expert panel has supported the recommendations of the  Quebec government Dying with Dignity Committee to allow euthanasia, through the back-door in Quebec.

The Quebec government committee has recommended the legalization of Belgium Style euthanasia from its beginning. It appears that the government committee is promoting "Belgian Style" euthanasia by its recommendation to define euthanasia as part of palliative care.

The CBC news stated:
The report says choosing end of life should be more clearly defined in the law as part of palliative care. 
Quebec's so-called Dying with Dignity task force recommended allowing people with terminal illness to seek the help of a doctor to end their own lives, something prohibited under the federal Criminal Code. 
The report stems from findings by a committee that looked at questions regarding assisted suicide and end-of-life procedures. 
The committee's landmark Quebec report in 2012 recommended that doctors be allowed to help terminally ill patients die, in exceptional circumstances, if that is their wish. 
The report was released in the Quebec legislature, after two years of work from the Dying With Dignity Committee, a multi-partisan group of nine MNAs.
It appears that the Quebec government is so busy leading their own cheer that they continue to avoid the real question and that is: what is actually occurring in Belgium?
Recent studies from Belgium have uncovered significant abuse in Belgium.
Three recent Belgian studies found:
1. 32% of the euthanasia deaths are done without explicit request in the Flanders region of Belgium. 
2. We learn that nurses are carrying-out euthanasia deaths in Belgium, even though it is illegal for nurses to do euthanasia. 
3. 47% of the euthanasia deaths in the Flanders region of Belgium are not reported as euthanasia.
When completing a further analysis of the recent studies in Belgium we found:
1. When a physician reports a euthanasia death, as euthanasia, the physician usually (73%) follows the rules that are outlined by the law. 
2. When a physician does not report a euthanasia death, as euthanasia, the physician usually does not follow the rules that are outlined by the law.
3. The reasons for not reporting a euthanasia death, as euthanasia, include the following: to avoid the administrative burden, the legal due requirements were not met or to avoid possible legal consequences. Often the physician never intended to report the death as euthanasia. 
4. Euthanasia deaths that are done by nurses in Belgium are not legal but occur. These deaths are usually done by order of a physician, but sometimes they are done without consulting a physician. These deaths are usually done by intentional opioid overdose, even though sometimes they are done by neuromuscular relaxants. Nurses who had previously been involved with a euthanasia death and male nurses were far more likely to carry-out euthanasia in Belgium. 
5. When a euthanasia death is not reported in Belgium, or done without explicit request the patient is more likely to be over the age of 80, die in a hospital, and is often incompetent to consent to the act. The same demographic is also over represented when a euthanasia death is done by a nurse in Belgium. 
Therefore, euthanasia deaths that are done without explicit request, that are unreported, or that are done by nurses fit the same demographic group. This demographic group "fits the description of a 'vulnerable' patient group" who have died by euthanasia without request.
A recent 10 year analysis of the Belgian euthanasia law found:
‘The central theme of the report is the ineffectiveness and bias of the body established by the legislation to allay the misgivings of the public by monitoring and controlling euthanasia. After 10 years and about 5,500 cases, not one case has ever been referred to the police. It is illusory, says the IEB, to expect doctors to denounce their own failings.
Furthermore, nearly half of the statutory 16-member Commission for Control and Assessment are members or associates of the leading Belgian right-to-die society. This is sufficient to explain, according to the IEB, ‘the absence of any effective control and the ever‐widening interpretation which the Commission intends to give the law’. 
Recently the Belgium socialist party announced their intention of widening the euthanasia law to include children with disabilities and people with dementia or Alzheimer's and on December 14, 45 year old twins who were born deaf were killed by euthanasia after learning that they were becoming blind.
The question is: will the experience with Euthanasia be different in Quebec than it has been in Belgium? When considering the definitions that the Quebec Dying with Dignity report uses, I think that the Belgian experience will mirror the Quebec experience, if euthanasia becomes legal.
Further reading on the Belgium Euthanasia Law.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So here it is. Freedom of life and freedom of death. Official reports (http://www.pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/showlink.aspx?bookmarkid=FTZQ88QDUFI8&preview=article&linkid=74619fad-935d-4548-b3ba-fb6ebb005be7&pdaffid=ZVFwBG5jk4Kvl9OaBJc5%2bg%3d%3d) make the euthanasia almost tantalizing. But look at it from a doctor's perspective: isn't it murder with an approval sticker on it? Can that ever be justified?