Tuesday 8 June 2010

Belgium's non voluntary euthanasia deaths almost equal voluntary euthanasia deaths

Wesley J. Smith (pictured) reports in Secondhand Smoke that, according to a new study, nearly as many Belgian euthanasia killings are non voluntary as of those that are voluntary.

In September 2002, Belgium became the second country in the world after the Netherlands to legalise euthanasia since the fall of Nazi Germany. Last year, Secondhand Smoke reported that euthanasia deaths were going up in Belgium, accounting for about 2% of all deaths in Flanders.

Wesley J. Smith, a Senior Fellow in Human Rights and Bioethics at the Discovery Institute Washington DC, explains:
" ... Euthanasia consciousness rests on two intellectual pillars–that killing is an acceptable answer to human suffering, and radical individualism in which we all own our bodies and have the absolute right to do what we wish with it, including make it dead. But interestingly, the latter idea–often reduced to that most effective of all soundbites, “choice”–turns out to be far less robust than the acceptance of active killing as a proper method of ending suffering. In other words, once a society accepts killing as the answer to suffering, the request element becomes increasingly less important as doctors assume they are doing what is best for the patient by extinguishing their lives.

"This has been the case in the Netherlands for for decades. Amazingly, the phenomenon of “terminations without request or consent” is even worse in Flanders, Belgium. In the present survey of nurses, not only were nearly as many patients euthanized without no request–120 in this survey–as those who asked to die–128 in this survey–but often doctors have nurses do the dirty work–and they aren’t supposed to engage in euthanasia at all ... "
The Canadian Medical Association Journal (May 17) makes grim reading. In the article entitled The role of nurses in physician assisted deaths in Belgium we learn:
"By administering the life-ending drugs in some of the cases of euthanasia, and in almost half of the cases without an explicit request from the patient, the nurses in our study operated beyond the legal margins of their profession".
Elsewhere the article states:
" ... Finally, although about half of the nurses’ reports indicated that there was no explicit request from the patient, it should be stated that the physicians and nurses probably acted according to the patient’s wishes ... "
"Not if they weren't asked!" Wesley J. Smith says - and he comments:
"This goes beyond terminal non judgmentalism to actively justifying illegal acts, and proves that once the euthanasia monster is let out of its cage, the “guidelines” and “safeguards” become less protective than wet tissue paper, not only in the country where euthanasia occurs, but among professional studies of the practices."
I strongly recommend Secondhand Smoke for all serious students of legalized euthanasia and its consequences.

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