Friday, March 15, 2024

Belgian euthanasia deaths increase by 15% in 2023.

The European Institute of Bioethics published the following report:

On Tuesday, February 27, the Federal Commission for the Control and Evaluation of Euthanasia in Belgium (CFCEE) published the figures relating to euthanasia's declared during 2023. The number of euthanasia's officially practiced reached a new record with 3,423 euthanasia's declared to the Commission in 2023.

While the year 2022 had also been marked by an increase in cases (+10%), see. IEB news, this year marks an increase of 15% compared to 2022.

To these euthanasia's officially declared to the Commission, scientific studies estimate that approximately 25 to 35% of undeclared euthanasia's should be added (JPSM, 2018).

If the majority of reported euthanasia's concern elderly people, note that almost a third (30%) of people officially deceased by euthanasia were under 70 years.

Euthanasia's carried out at home represent 48.6%. We observe a confirmed increase in euthanasia carried out in rest and care homes (16.4% in 2022 and 17.4% in 2023). 32% of euthanasias were carried out in hospitals and palliative care units. This proportion is up slightly compared to the previous year.

The figures for 2023 also confirm the increase in euthanasias carried out due to multiple pathologies (+3% compared to 2022, i.e. the second type of condition mentioned, after cancer). Euthanasia for multiple pathologies thus represents 23.2% of euthanasia, of which almost half (47%) were carried out when death was not expected in the short term. As the Commission indicates, polypathologies designate “a combination of suffering caused by several chronic conditions which progress towards a final stage”. In practice, these conditions can notably consist of terminal heart failure, hemiplegia due to a stroke but also loss of vision or hearing, polyarthritis or incontinence.

Finally, in 76.2% of cases, physical and psychological suffering were mentioned simultaneously. Additionally, 89 people were euthanized due to psychiatric conditions (such as personality disorders or depression) or cognitive disorders (such as Alzheimer's disease). A figure again increasing compared to 2022.

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