C H N t

Why we believe guidelines for euthanasia will 

never work 

 

The first guideline promised by the Dutch

 "There must be an un-coerced voluntary choice of the patient"

however

CHN will let the following speak for itself . . .

As reported in the media:

op

bullet Significance of Dutch Euthanasia Decision Sinks In
bullet"Netherlands Hospital Euthanizes Babies"
bullet "No Prosecution for Dutch Baby Euthanasia - Study"
bullet "Dutch Euthanasia Doctors May Now Kill Perfectly Healthy Adults"
bullet "Dutch euthanasia law should apply to patients "suffering through living," report says"
bullet "Two test cases in Holland clarify law on murder and palliative care"
bullet"Parents banned from smacking children" - CHN Editor's comment "How ironic that the Dutch cabinet in their great wisdom has proposed a ban to "outlaw all forms of violence against children to combat child abuse  but in their ignorance continue to allow physicians to kill children who they insist are too disabled to be fit for life.   Can you think of anything more violent than murder?"  Cheryl Eckstein, CHN
bullet "7 DUTCH GUIDELINES FOR EUTHANASIA"  - Guideline # 1 "There must be an un-coerced voluntary choice of the patient." . . .
bullet "Husband kills self out of grief, then comatose wife regains consciousness"  A tragic story where one man believed there was "no hope."

Still Not all is lost in the war against euthanasia in the Netherlands

bullet

Dutch doctors 'refusing' to perform euthanasia

bullet

Outrage from churches over euthanasia on newborns

Please visit: 

The Dutch Euthanasia Law from "Schreeuw om Leven (Cry for Life)"


The decision contradicts the Dutch Supreme Court that ruled in 2002 that patients may only request euthanasia if they have a "classifiable physical or mental condition," and not if they are merely "tired of life." The law however, does not require a medical condition, but only that a patient must be "suffering hopelessly and unbearably."

 


Last year, the association that represents doctors in the Netherlands asked the government to establish a review board to consider euthanasia for those lacking the mental capacity or "free will" to decide for themselves. This would include children, the severely retarded and people in irreversible comas.  . . . Wesley Smith, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, a U.S. think tank, wrote in the conservative Weekly Standard that Dutch doctors are engaging "in the kind of activities that got some German doctors hanged after Nuremberg."

 


"All over the world, doctors end lives discreetly, out of compassion, without any kind of regulation," said Dr. Eduard Verhagen, author of the study and an advocate of strict guidelines that would allow mercy killings of infants.

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Significance of Dutch Euthanasia Decision Sinks In
By Patrick Goodenough
CNS London Bureau Chief
December 18, 2000

London (CNSNews.com) - A recent decision by Dutch lawmakers to legalize euthanasia continues to generate shockwaves in Holland and around the world, as the implications sink in.

"It is an important moment in western history, which many people don't seem to realize the significance of," said Henk Reitsema, a Dutch pastor, commenting on the parliament's passage of the law.

"I am sure that there will come a time in our lifetimes when many of us look back and wonder 'What were we thinking when we let people decide that it was okay to actively take part in killing people with our medical and legal apparatus involved, while the individuals had committed no crimes?' " he said.

Although it has been technically illegal until now, euthanasia by lethal injection has been practiced in the Netherlands for about 25 years and more than 3,000 people die this way every year.

The new law, whose passage through the Senate next year is considered a formality, provides guidelines doctors must follow to remain within the law.

A patient suffering from unbearable pain must make a voluntary, well-considered and lasting request to die. He or she must also be aware of all other medical options and have sought a second professional opinion.

The doctor must send a report to a legal and medical commission that will ensure all conditions have been met.

But Karel Gunning, a Dutch physician who heads a group called the World Federation of Doctors Who Respect Human Life, said doctors were unlikely to incriminate themselves when submitting their report after killing a patient.

"That report is sent to a committee that must judge whether the doctor acted correctly, and on the basis of this report the committee must judge," he said. "But the author of the report is the doctor himself. Can we be sure that the report is truthful?"

A doctor would not mention in the report if the patient had been killed against his will, and it would be difficult for the commission to prove that the report was false.

The "chief witness" - the patient - would be dead, Gunning said. If there were relatives or heirs on the scene, they may be interested in an expected inheritance.

Gunning said he deeply regretted that Holland was leading this world in this way. He recalled that, half a century ago, Dutch doctors risked their lives by refusing to participate in Hitler's forced euthanasia program, which "killed over a hundred thousand German patients with a mental handicap."

But he expressed optimism that the world would not follow suit.

"I don't think the world will follow the Dutch guide. I think the Dutch example will show too clearly that it is impossible to allow killing patients who want to be killed, without taking away the protection of patients who don't want to be killed.

"That is too high a price for the 'luxury' of being able to choose euthanasia."

The Vatican last week published a document which called the Dutch decision a consequence of a wider "spiritual and moral weakening."

It challenged the argument that patients had to be put out of their suffering, saying that now, more than ever, "pain is 'curable,' with adequate analgesic means and palliative care [and] adequate human and spiritual assistance."

Treatment should only be stopped, said the document drawn up by the Pontifical Academy for Life, in the extreme case of imminent and inevitable death.

There was a substantial difference, it argued, between procuring death through euthanasia and allowing it. "The first position rejects life, while the second accepts its natural fulfillment."

Earlier, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands, Cardinal Adrian Simonis, said he remained hopeful that the Dutch upper house of parliament may reject the legislation next year.

In an interview with an Italian newspaper, he decried "the modern sickness of man who no longer adheres to truth but to the subjectivity of his feelings."

Simonis noted that European Union institutions had pointed out that the Dutch law is in conflict with European human rights legislation. Article Two of the European Convention on Human Rights upholds the right to life, as protected by law.

Even as the Dutch lawmakers were voting on the bill on September 28, Jonathan Imbody of the Christian Medical Association in the U.S. was delivering a presentation in The Hague, encouraging Christian pro-lifers to continue campaigning against euthanasia.

He cited a report in an American medical journal which found that depression and hopeless, rather than pain, were the dominant reasons for patients seeking euthanasia.

This should alert Christians to the fact that "our battle is not simply over public policy; it is a battle that reaches deep into the hearts and souls of individuals," Imbody said.
 

bullet Source Significance of Dutch Euthanasia Decision Sinks In       ►top

 

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Netherlands Hospital Euthanizes Babies

Europe - AP

By TOBY STERLING, Associated Press Writer

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - A hospital in the Netherlands ­ the first nation to permit euthanasia ­ recently proposed guidelines for mercy killings of terminally ill newborns, and then made a startling revelation: It has already begun carrying out such procedures, which include administering a lethal dose of sedatives.

The announcement by the Groningen Academic Hospital came amid a growing discussion in Holland on whether to legalize euthanasia on people incapable of deciding for themselves whether they want to end their lives ­ a prospect viewed with horror by euthanasia opponents and as a natural evolution by advocates. (emphasis added)

In August, the main Dutch doctors' association KNMG urged the Health Ministry to create an independent board to review euthanasia cases for terminally ill people "with no free will," including children, the severely mentally retarded and people left in an irreversible coma after an accident.

The Health Ministry is preparing its response, which could come as soon as December, a spokesman said.

Three years ago, the Dutch parliament made it legal for doctors to inject a sedative and a lethal dose of muscle relaxant at the request of adult patients suffering great pain with no hope of relief.

The Groningen Protocol, as the hospital's guidelines have come to be known, would create a legal framework for permitting doctors to actively end the life of newborns deemed to be in similar pain from incurable disease or extreme deformities.

The guideline says euthanasia is acceptable when the child's medical team and independent doctors agree the pain cannot be eased and there is no prospect for improvement, and when parents think it's best.

Examples include extremely premature births, where children suffer brain damage from bleeding and convulsions; and diseases where a child could only survive on life support for the rest of its life, such as severe cases of spina bifida and epidermosis bullosa, a rare blistering illness.

The hospital revealed last month it carried out four such mercy killings in 2003, and reported all cases to government prosecutors. There have been no legal proceedings against the hospital or the doctors.

Roman Catholic organizations and the Vatican (news - web sites) have reacted with outrage to the announcement, and U.S. euthanasia opponents contend the proposal shows the Dutch have lost their moral compass.

"The slippery slope in the Netherlands has descended already into a vertical cliff," said Wesley J. Smith, a prominent California-based critic, in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Child euthanasia remains illegal everywhere. Experts say doctors outside Holland do not report cases for fear of prosecution.

"As things are, people are doing this secretly and that's wrong," said Eduard Verhagen, head of Groningen's children's clinic. "In the Netherlands we want to expose everything, to let everything be subjected to vetting."

According to the Justice Ministry, four cases of child euthanasia were reported to prosecutors in 2003. Two were reported in 2002, seven in 2001 and five in 2000. All the cases in 2003 were reported by Groningen, but some of the cases in other years were from other hospitals.

Groningen estimated the protocol would be applicable in about 10 cases per year in the Netherlands, a country of 16 million people.

Since the introduction of the Dutch law, Belgium has also legalized euthanasia, while in France, legislation to allow doctor-assisted suicide is currently under debate. In the United States, the state of Oregon is alone in allowing physician-assisted suicide, but this is under constant legal challenge.

However, experts acknowledge that doctors euthanize routinely in the United States and elsewhere, but that the practice is hidden.  

"Measures that might marginally extend a child's life by minutes or hours or days or weeks are stopped. This happens routinely, namely, every day," said Lance Stell, professor of medical ethics at Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., and staff ethicist at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C. "Everybody knows that it happens, but there's a lot of hypocrisy. Instead, people talk about things they're not going to do."

More than half of all deaths occur under medical supervision, so it's really about management and method of death, Stell said.

bulletSource: http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/11/30/203858.shtml

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No Prosecution for Dutch Baby Euthanasia - Study

Sat Jan 22, 8:38 AM ET
 Health - Reuters

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch doctors have ended the lives of babies born with disabilities but have not been charged despite euthanasia being illegal for children, a study said on Saturday.

The study, published in the latest edition of the Dutch Journal of Medicine, found doctors had reported 22 cases between 1997 and 2004 of euthanasia of babies with spina bifida, a disabling birth defect affecting the spinal column.

Dutch prosecutors dismissed all cases after judicial reviews, the journal said in a summary on its Web Site. Dutch media said the study showed prosecutors had decided against charging doctors as long as four unofficial rules were met.

The criteria for baby euthanasia were that the newborn had no chance of survival and was suffering unbearably, the doctor had to consult at least one other, the parents had to agree and the life must be ended in the correct medical way.

Eduard Verhagen, paediatrician at the Groningen University Medical Center and one of the authors of the study, told De Volkskrant newspaper he hoped to encourage doctors to report such cases without fear of prosecution.

"The babies are there but we were never allowed to talk about them. That must change. If we take this awfully difficult decision, it must happen with complete openness," he said.

"You are trained to save the life of a child but with these children the suffering can only be stopped by ending their lives. It takes courage to do that."

Another survey has suggested Dutch doctors end the lives of about 15 to 20 disabled newborns a year but most go unreported.

In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to legalise euthanasia. But doctors must obey strict rules.

Patients must face a future of unbearable suffering and make a voluntary, well-considered request to die. Doctor and patient must be convinced there is no other solution. A second doctor must be consulted and life ended in a medically appropriate way.

Verhagen's openness about euthanasia has drawn fierce criticism from abroad in the last year, with top-rated U.S. cable network Fox News equating "baby killing" in The Netherlands with the Nazi murder of Jewish diarist Anne Frank.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20050122/hl_nm/health_dutch_euthanasia_dc_1


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bulletDutch Euthanasia Doctors May Now Kill Perfectly Healthy Adults


UTRECHT, January 11, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Royal Dutch Medical Association has concluded, after a three-year investigation, that Dutch doctors ought to be able to kill patients who are not ill but who are judged to be "suffering through living."

The decision contradicts the Dutch Supreme Court that ruled in 2002 that patients may only request euthanasia if they have a "classifiable physical or mental condition," and not if they are merely "tired of life." The law however, does not require a medical condition, but only that a patient must be "suffering hopelessly and unbearably." Pro-life activists have warned that such ambiguous language is an open door for new interpretations that would make the law a license to kill.

The new report says many Dutch doctors believe some cases of "suffering through living" could be judged "unbearable and hopeless."

Jos Dijkhuis, the emeritus professor of clinical psychology who led the study said, "In more than half of cases we considered, doctors were not confronted with a classifiable disease. In practice the medical domain of doctors is far broader … We see a doctor's task is to reduce suffering, therefore we can't exclude these cases in advance. We must now look further to see if we can draw a line and if so where."

Mira de Vries, of the Association for Medical and Therapeutic Self-Determination, a pro-suicide group, pointed out that the law exists only to protect doctors from prosecution for homicide. She commented on the British Medical Journal's forum page, "By claiming that the medical domain of doctors is far broader, and includes the reduction of suffering unrelated to classifiable and measurable somatic illness, physicians are proposing to redefine medicine, and vastly expand its already inflated territory."

Henk Jochemsen, director of the anti-euthanasia Lindeboom Institute for Medical Ethics, said the report gave the message that, "we as a society should say to people who feel their life has lost meaning: right you had better go away."

British Medical Journal coverage:
http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/330/7482/61

To read a copy of the Dutch Medical Association report: (in Dutch)
http://knmg.artsennet.nl/content/resources/AMGATE_6059_100_TICH_L188714013/AMGATE_6059_100_TICH_R135307283126504//    
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The decision contradicts the Dutch Supreme Court that ruled in 2002 that patients may only request euthanasia if they have a "classifiable physical or mental condition," and not if they are merely "tired of life." The law however, does not require a medical condition, but only that a patient must be "suffering hopelessly and unbearably."

 

 
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Dutch euthanasia law should apply to patients "suffering through living," report says

Utrecht Tony Sheldon

Doctors can help patients who ask for help to die even though they may not be ill but "suffering through living," concludes a three year inquiry commissioned by the Royal Dutch Medical Association. The report argues that no reason can be given to exclude situations of such suffering from a doctor’s area of competence.

The conclusion has reopened a fierce debate over what constitutes grounds for requesting euthanasia, as it contradicts a landmark Supreme Court decision that a patient must have a "classifiable physical or mental condition." The 2002 ruling upheld a guilty verdict on a GP for helping his 86 year old patient die, even though he was not technically ill but obsessed with his physical decline and hopeless existence (BMJ 2003;326:71).

The Dutch euthanasia law does not specifically state that a patient must have a physical or mental condition, only that a patient must be "suffering hopelessly and unbearably."

The new report does not rule on how doctors should respond if a patient without a classifiable condition should approach them for help but says that doctors believe that some cases of "suffering through living" could be judged "unbearable and hopeless" and therefore fall within the boundaries of the existing euthanasia law.

The report argues that the Supreme Court criteria are unhelpful in defining the limits of medical practice in varied and complex cases. It is "an illusion," it argues, to suggest that a patient’s suffering can be "unambiguously measured according to his illness."

Jos Dijkhuis, the emeritus professor of clinical psychology who led the inquiry, said that it was "evident to us that Dutch doctors would not consider euthanasia from a patient who is simply ‘tired of, or through with, life,’" (terms used in the original court case). Instead his committee chose the term "suffering through living," where a patient may present a variety of physical and mental complaints.

He said there was "enormous protest" from doctors to the Supreme Court’s ruling. "In more than half of cases we considered, doctors were not confronted with a classifiable disease. In practice the medical domain of doctors is far broader … We see a doctor’s task is to reduce suffering, therefore we can’t exclude these cases in advance. We must now look further to see if we can draw a line and if so where."

His report recommends caution, saying that doctors currently lack sufficient expertise and that their roles remain unclear. It recommends drawing up protocols by which to judge "suffering through living" cases and collecting and analysing further data. In the meantime it recommends an "extra phase" to treatment, where therapeutic and social solutions can first be sought.

Henk Jochemsen, director of the anti-euthanasia Lindeboom Institute for Medical Ethics, said that the report has dangerous signs, to the effect that "we as a society should say to people who feel their life has lost meaning: right you had better go away."

The association plans to continue the debate, believing that such cases could become more common. Research shows that 30% of doctors have had patients request euthanasia even though they do not have "a serious physical or psychiatric condition." (Lancet 2003;362:395-9)

Op zoek naar normen voor het handelen van artsen bij vragen om hulp bij levensbeëinding in geval van lijden aan het leven (In Search of Standards for the Treatment by Doctors of Requests for Help in Ending Life Because of Suffering Through Living) is accessible on the website of the Royal Dutch Medical Association, www.knmg.nl

Source: http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/330/7482/61?etoc
BMJ  2005;330:61 (8 January), doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7482.61


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Two test cases in Holland clarify law on murder and palliative care

Utrecht Tony Sheldon

Legal judgments in two test cases against doctors in the Netherlands accused of killing their dying comatose patients have clarified the differences between palliative care and murder.

In the first case, which has lasted seven years, the Supreme Court finally rejected a doctor’s appeal against a charge of murder. The court said that the dose of 50 mg of the anaesthetic drug alcuronium chloride (Alloferin) he gave his patient could not be considered a form of palliative care. Neither was it euthanasia, as the patient had not made a request to die. The appeal had been made by Amsterdam GP Wilfred van Oijen, who appeared in a 1994 television documentary on euthanasia, Death on Request (BMJ 2001;322:509).

In the second case a court in Breda acquitted a 31 year old junior hospital doctor. His use of 20 mg of morphine and 5 mg of the sedative midazolam was accepted as "palliative pain relief." In agreement with the patient’s family, the on-duty casualty doctor, known as V, had offered only palliative care to a 77 year old man who was dying after a large cerebral stroke.

He was given 5 mg of morphine an hour, but he was having serious difficulties breathing. V increased the dose of morphine and, as his condition worsened, gave him midazolam. Shortly after the patient died V was taken into police custody, where he spent nine days before being charged.

The court accepted that the use, quantities, and combination of morphine and midazolam adhered to the goals of palliative pain relief, was not excessive, and was normal medical treatment. It was accepted that these drugs could shorten the patient’s life but were not intended to.

He could still face a medical disciplinary board but has continued to work. His lawyer, Cees Korvinus, has described the decision to prosecute as "absurd."

In the van Oijen case, the 84 year old patient was in a coma and was expected to die within 48 hours. Her condition was described as "very exceptionally degrading." Dr van Oijen injected 50 mg of alcuronium, and soon after she died. He argued that this "help with dying" was part of palliative treatment.

The Supreme Court rejected this argument, along with his defence that he had faced an emergency because of his patient’s extremely urgent condition. It judged that because his patient was in a coma she was not suffering unbearably.

The courts have accepted that Dr van Oijen acted out of "compassion" but that with no request for euthanasia from the patient such "life ending" treatment remained murder. His punishment was a one week prison sentence suspended for two years.

Dr van Oijen continues to practise. His appearance before a medical disciplinary board in 1998 resulted only in a warning. His lawyer, Bénédicte Ficq, argued that such "palliative care" should not be judged in the criminal courts. "This is not murder," she said.

Johan Legemaate, coordinator of legal policy at the Dutch Medical Association, said a conviction in the Breda case would have had a "major impact on the medical profession," drawing a great deal of normal palliative care into criminal law. The association wants cases such as Dr van Oijen’s to be judged first by multidisciplinary committees of doctors and lawyers.


Source:  http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/329/7476/1206-e
BMJ  2004;329:1206 (20 November), doi:10.1136/bmj.329.7476.1206-e

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Parents banned from smacking children

14 February 2005
AMSTERDAM ­ In a proposal that will ban the giving of disciplinary smacks, the Dutch Cabinet has decided to outlaw all forms of violence against children to combat child abuse.


How ironic that the Dutch cabinet in their great wisdom has proposed a ban to "outlaw all forms of violence against children to combat child abuse  but in their ignorance continue to allow physicians to kill children who they insist are too disabled to be fit for life.   Can you think of anything more violent than murder?  Cheryl Eckstein, CHN

RESPONSE FROM VARIOUS SOURCES TO INFANTICIDE  IN THE  NETHERLANDS 

AND

 Dutch doctors 'refusing' to perform euthanasia

 

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Outrage from churches over euthanasia on newborns -1/12/04



Roman Catholic organisations and the Vatican have reacted with outrage to the news that a hospital in the Netherlands has been carrying out "mercy killings" on newborn babies.

Opponents said the Dutch had lost their moral compass, as it emerged that a hospital recently proposed guidelines for mercy killings of terminally ill newborns, and then said it had already begun carrying out such procedures. This included administering a lethal dose of sedatives.

The announcement by the Groningen Academic Hospital, and reported by the Associated Press (AP) came amid a growing discussion in Holland on whether to legalise euthanasia on people incapable of deciding for themselves whether they want to end their lives - a prospect viewed with horror by euthanasia opponents and as a natural evolution by advocates.

In August, the main Dutch doctors' association KNMG urged the Health Ministry to create an independent board to review euthanasia cases for terminally ill people "with no free will," including children, the severely mentally retarded and people left in an irreversible coma after an accident.

The Health Ministry is preparing its response, which could come before Christmas, a spokesman said.

Three years ago, the Dutch parliament made it legal for doctors to inject a sedative and a lethal dose of muscle relaxant at the request of adult patients suffering great pain with no hope of relief.

The Groningen Protocol, as the hospital's guidelines have come to be known, would create a legal framework for permitting doctors to actively end the life of newborns deemed to be in similar pain from incurable disease or extreme deformities.

The guideline says euthanasia is acceptable when the child's medical team and independent doctors agree the pain cannot be eased and there is no prospect for improvement, and when parents think it's best.

Examples include extremely premature births, where children suffer brain damage from bleeding and convulsions; and diseases where a child could only survive on life support for the rest of its life, such as severe cases of spina bifida and epidermosis bullosa, a rare blistering illness.

The hospital revealed last month it carried out four such mercy killings in 2003, and reported all cases to government prosecutors. There have been no legal proceedings against the hospital or the doctors.

Opponents to Euthanasia have reacted with outrage.

"The slippery slope in the Netherlands has descended already into a vertical cliff," said Wesley J. Smith, a prominent California-based critic, in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Child euthanasia remains illegal everywhere. Experts say doctors outside Holland do not report cases for fear of prosecution.

"As things are, people are doing this secretly and that's wrong," said Eduard Verhagen, head of Groningen's children's clinic. "In the Netherlands we want to expose everything, to let everything be subjected to vetting."

According to the Justice Ministry, four cases of child euthanasia were reported to prosecutors in 2003. Two were reported in 2002, seven in 2001 and five in 2000. All the cases in 2003 were reported by Groningen, but some of the cases in other years were from other hospitals.

Groningen estimated the protocol would be applicable in about 10 cases per year in the Netherlands, a country of 16 million people.

Since the introduction of the Dutch law, Belgium has also legalized euthanasia, while in France, legislation to allow doctor-assisted suicide is currently under debate. In the United States, the state of Oregon is alone in allowing physician-assisted suicide, but this is under constant legal challenge.

However, experts acknowledge that doctors euthanize routinely in the United States and elsewhere, but that the practice is hidden.

"Measures that might marginally extend a child's life by minutes or hours or days or weeks are stopped. This happens routinely, namely, every day," said Lance Stell, professor of medical ethics at Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., and staff ethicist at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C. "Everybody knows that it happens, but there's a lot of hypocrisy. Instead, people talk about things they're not going to do."

More than half of all deaths occur under medical supervision, so it's really about management and method of death, Stell said.


The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia

Source: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/content/news_syndication/article_04121eut.shtml


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"Isn't it ironic that the Dutch are considering an investigation into "unperformed " euthanasia while Oregon insists on secrecy for its assisted suicides?" Nancy Valko, RN

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Dutch doctors 'refusing' to perform euthanasia

3 February 2005
 


AMSTERDAM ­ A Dutch pro-euthanasia group has launched an investigation into claims that doctors are trying to avoid performing requested euthanasia or are continually delaying carrying out the request.

The Dutch Voluntary End to Life Association (NVVE) said its large-scale investigation among surviving relatives into unperformed euthanasia requests, will be completed by the end of next year, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.

As the NVVE presented a book of interviews with surviving relatives on Thursday, director Rob Jonquière said many of the interviews indicate that doctors are looking for excuses not to carry out euthanasia. "We want to know how often this occurs," he said.

Research commissioned by the Dutch government has found that of the 9,700 requests for euthanasia lodged in 2001, only 3,800 were carried out. In one-third of the requests not carried out, doctors said the patient had already died before euthanasia could be performed.

In 20 percent of the cases, doctors were not prepared to assist a patient commit suicide because not all the legal requirements had been met.

The views of patients and relatives were not included in the research for two former studies and it remains unclear if the comments from doctors were correct. Jonquière said if doctors try and delay euthanasia, they would not be too keen to admit that to researchers.

The NVVE has asked a social medicine professor with the Free University medical centre in Amsterdam, Gerrit van der Waal to conduct the investigation. Van der Waal has in recent years led two investigations into the euthanasia practices among doctors.

Euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands since April 2002. The law allows assisted suicides if the patient officially requests to die, is suffering from extreme pain or a terminal illness and a second medical opinion has been sought. The Netherlands was the first nation to legalise assisted suicides.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005] 

Source http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=1&story_id=16544&name=Dutch+doctors+'refusing'to+perform+euthanasia

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DUTCH GUIDELINES FOR EUTHANASIA 

 

Strict guidelines stated:

1. There must be an un-coerced voluntary choice of the patient.

 = This is fraught with difficulty as suicidal and terminally ill people are rarely fully competent and have considerable pressures influencing their decision.

2. The patient must be incurable or terminal.

 = This guideline is certainly disregarded by many physicians in the Netherlands, and so will not likely be complied with in Canada either. As well, it is improbable that this restriction would hold up under Constitutional challenge in Canada. In addition, there is no generally accepted medical definition of "terminal condition".

3. A patient's request must be persistent and well considered.

 = In the Netherlands 59% of requests are granted on the day of that request.

4. The patient must have intolerable suffering. 

= Although many people in the Netherlands do have pain, the majority of reasons for euthanasia are largely social, including "loss of dignity". Since suffering need not be physical, criteria are entirely subjective (which means you have to believe what the patient says), and in many cases is judged solely by outsiders such as the family and physician. The presence of unrelieved pain as a criteria is disturbing since much of unrelieved pain in terminal cancer today is due to inadequate palliative care.

5. Euthanasia must be a last resort.

 = This really means that other options are simply discussed. In reality, if the patient does not wish to try alternate treatments such as medication for their depression as in the aforementioned psychiatric case, euthanasia is still considered a viable option.

6. The person assisting in a death would need to be a physician

= (In the case of Sue Rodriguez the recommended restriction was that she herself perform the active intervention that leads to her death). In the Netherlands nurses have been implicated in administering euthanasia even without consultation with physicians. In the case of Sue Rodriguez, an alleged third party supposedly administered a lethal substance on her request. Importantly, this came at a time when she was still able to swallow solid food, thereby negating her contention that she needed assistance legalized because she would not be able to swallow the necessary pills.

7. Consultation with another physician is mandatory in the Netherlands.

= This is clearly not followed in many cases, with court sanction. 

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Source: CHN APPEARS BEFORE THE SENATE OF CANADA  CHN: Archives

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The reader is asked to weigh the reports from the media, and then ask~  "Are we willing to accept the notion that guidelines will be enforced if the law is changed to allow for euthanasia?"  CHN is convinced that the only person who is protected is the doctor.  In the Netherlands physicians who ignored the guidelines got but a slap on the wrist.  Now, all the original guidelines are set aside and nearly forgotten.  Anyone it seems, can legitimately request euthanasia - except children and those very vulnerable who are unable to speak for themselves.  

CHN wishes to leave the reader with one last story - it's about a man who lost hope - or - maybe he was told not to hold out for any hope.  

 

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Husband kills self out of grief, then comatose wife regains consciousness

Associated Press
Jan. 21, 2005 02:00 PM

ROME - Evoking comparisons to "Romeo and Juliet," a husband in northern Italy killed himself out of grief for his ailing wife, hours before she came out of a coma, Italian state TV reported Friday.

RAI state TV said the husband visited his 67-year-old wife daily, sometimes coming to the hospital in Padua as much as four times a day, after she went into a coma after a stroke in September.

On Wednesday, the 71-year-old man committed suicide at the couple's Padua-area home, according to RAI and the Italian news agency ANSA. About 12 hours later, the wife emerged from the coma and asked for her husband, ANSA said.

ANSA quoted their pastor as saying the husband had told him he was very pessimistic about prospects for his wife's recovery.

The husband and wife, who were not identified, had no children.

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Source: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0121HusbandGrief21-ON.html

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