Dutch euthanasia: psychiatric and dementia patients killed

Wed, 3 Oct 2012

Dozens of psychiatric and dementia patients had their lives ended under the Netherlands’ controversial euthanasia laws last year.

According to Dutch media reports 13 psychiatric patients were euthanised last year, an increase of more than 500 per cent since 2010.

And the number of euthanasia deaths among those in the early stages of dementia rose to 49 last year, double that of 2010.

Warned

Overall, the total number of deaths by euthanasia rose to 3,695 in 2011, an 18 per cent increase.

However, previous research has indicated that 23 per cent of all euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands were not recorded in 2010, meaning that the actual number is likely to have been even higher.

Dr Peter Saunders, a leading pro-life medic, has warned that euthanasia in the Netherlands “is out of control”.

Underestimate

Writing on his blog Dr Saunders said: “The House of Lords calculated in 2005 that with a Dutch-type law in Britain we would be seeing over 13,000 cases of euthanasia per year.

“On the basis of how Dutch euthanasia deaths have risen since this may prove to be a gross underestimate.

“I have never been convinced by the term ‘slippery slope’ which implies passive change over time.

Widening

“What we are seeing in the Netherlands is more accurately termed ‘incremental extension’, the steady intentional escalation of numbers with a gradual widening of the categories of patients to be included.”

Two newly appointed health ministers have recently lent their personal support to assisted suicide.

Conservative Anna Soubry said it is “ridiculous and appalling” that Britons “have to go abroad to end their life”.

And Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb said his “personal view is that there is a case for reform”.

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