Saturday, March 21, 2015

Belgian doctor justifies euthanasia for depressed people.

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Godelieva De Troyer died by euthanasia in 2012.
An interview with Wim Distelmans, the chairman for the federal euthanasia commission in Belgium, was published in HLN.BE   (google translated) on March 15. where Distelmans explains that there were 50 - 60 psychiatric patients who died by euthanasia in 2013 - 2014. Distelmans states:

"It is a small group, 50 to 60 patients. But it is not a negligible number:. 2 to 3 percent of the 1,924 people who were euthanized last year."
Distelmans then states:
"usually they are not old, but they suffer long. They do not belong in this world, they think.."
Distelmans promotes euthanasia for depressed people. He states (google translated):
"Manic-depressive patients are in their manic moments capable of the most improbable things, They spend their bank loot, for weeks at a five-star lodge, buy several cars one day. At that stage they are not competent. But in moments of depression they by their exhaustion come back to the baseline and are indeed competent. Then they can for instance say, "I live for thirty years crazy highs and lows, I've tried everything to break that infernal cycle Now that I'm back on the baseline, and I know that I have a couple of weeks left, back I for a dip in the depth or a jump in height. " These are people who are eligible for euthanasia."
Once euthanasia has become an acceptable solution to human suffering the only question that remains is what conditions will death become the solution for life.

Lethal injections for people with psychiatric conditions is based on a false compassion. Distelmans appears to be reacting to his fear of living with chronic depression.


Janet T said...

ThisBelgian approach is scary. My father lived all his adult life with manic depression, till he died of lung cancer in his late 60s. My mother, in this precariousness, suffered when in a manic phase he would disappear for weeks and spend like a drunken sailor, forgetful of his wife and 5 children, and his own parents. In periods of depression (less common) it took all his strength to get up and go to work. The condition has also appeared in my 2 brothers, cousins, a niece, probably more relatives than I'm aware of.
Western society has become one in which suffering is intolerable – not just our own, but the sight of it in others. When we cannot eliminate suffering ... we eliminate the people who suffer. But murder – yes, this is its correct name – is not the answer. Look to Mother Teresa's order: their answer to suffering is to love the person, restore their dignity, treat the person as another Christ. Suffering can be a time of growth, a time to mature, to learn compassion for others, not wasted days of pointless pain.

Unknown said...

What makes people think that countries and US States that have a Voluntary Euthanasia, or Death with Dignity Law in place, do not also try to create a society in which people's needs are met in other ways as well?
As a retired Social Worker who was born and raised in the Netherlands, I have followed the intens, society-wide discussion of Dr's Assisted Dying, since the 1970s. Since I moved to Florida, I still stay up to date about the on-going discussion, on both sides of the Ocean.
It is not something that was legalized lightly. Every possible aspect has been looked at and discussed closely, by all kinds of people involved. By patients, family members of patients, patient advocacy organizations, handicapped organizations, medical ethicists, anthropologists, medical specialists, theologians, psychologists, sociologists, psychiatrists, you name it. Decennia long it has been studied from every possible angle. And, rightfully so. It should be something that, as a society, we should continue to watch and discuss very closely.
But, just because it is now legal, does not mean that physician assisted dying is now happening on a larger scale than it did before. That is precisely the number 1 reason that the Dutch Government did make it legal. It was happening "under cover". Just like it does here in the US. Patients will very carefully try to find out if their doctor would be willing to "help" them, when they are terminally ill and suffering.
Most people are not necessarily afraid of dying, but they are afraid of suffering, especially of "unbearable suffering".
And to think that unbearable suffering can be a positive thing for someone other than yourself, in my opinion is unbearably cruel.
If anyone chooses to suffer, because they feel that it is a way for them to learn something; feel free to do so. But nobody has the right to make that decision for anyone else. The moment I decide that you need to suffer, it becomes torture. I force you to undergo torture.
No civilized society should ever allow torture.