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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/8/2013 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Drastic uptick in medically supervised suicides in Holland, Belgium

In Holland, doctors administered a lethal injection to a 70-year-old woman because she could no longer stand losing her sight. Not identified, the woman had reportedly been living alone since the death of her husband and was "suffering unbearably." It's one of the first cases of euthanasia for a disability since Holland passed its controversial euthanasia law in 2002.

Mobile death units launched last year to kill sick and elderly people in their own homes when a family doctor objects on ethical grounds may be behind the increase in suicides in Holland.

Mobile death units launched last year to kill sick and elderly people in their own homes when a family doctor objects on ethical grounds may be behind the increase in suicides in Holland.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/8/2013 (6 months ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Suicide, medically assisted suicide, suicide laws, Holland, Belgium


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Doctors granted the woman's wish to die after she had  tried to commit suicide several times. Pro-life campaigners point out that euthanasia and assisted suicide could soon become the "norm" in countries where it is legal.

The Life advocates properly claim the incident also shows medical negligence and a lack of human empathy. They note that the doctors played to the woman's suicidal ideas. They claim that they should have found a way to help her manage her psychological pain and offered her assistance, not encouraged her to take of her own life. 

Health specialist Lia Bruin told a Dutch newspaper that the case was "exceptional. She was, for example, obsessed by cleanliness and could not stand being unable to see spots on her clothes."

In neighboring Belgium, with similar suicide laws, deaf twins Marc and Eddy Verbessem, 45, were granted their request to be killed last December after they learned they were likely to become blind.

Under current medically supervised suicide laws, The patient must be able to make a conscious and autonomous decision about ending their lives by lethal injection.

Holland became the first country in the world - since Nazi Germany - to legalize euthanasia when in 2002 it approved doctor-administered lethal drugs for terminally ill people facing unbearable suffering.

In addition, two doctors must first decide that the patient is afflicted bywhat they decide constitues "unbearable suffering" from which he or she has no realistic prospect of recovery.

Deaths by euthanasia have hit a record high in Holland, with nearly one in seven people now dying at the hands of their doctors.

Euthanasia cases soared by 13 percent in 2012 - 4,188 deaths compared to 3,695 deaths - meaning that it accounts for about one in 30 of all deaths. Mobile death units launched last year to kill sick and elderly people in their own homes when a family doctor objects on "ethical" grounds may be behind the increase.

Recent figures don't take into account deaths by terminal sedation, by which patients are deliberately sedated before they are dehydrated and starved to death, an act often referred to as "euthanasia by omission."

This practice accounts for more than 12 percent of all deaths, lifting the overall euthanasia deaths to 15 percent.

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