Organs of Belgian euthanasia victims harvested for transplant

People killed by euthanasia in Belgium are having their organs harvested for transplant surgery, a disturbing report has revealed.

A quarter of all lung transplants in Belgium are from people killed by euthanasia according to the study led by Dirk van Raemdonck, a surgeon from Leuven in Belgium.

Doctors preferred lungs taken from euthanasia victims because of their superior condition, according to the findings.


Last year a shocking study revealed that terminally ill patients in Belgium were being subjected to euthanasia without their consent.

Dr Peter Saunders, of Care Not Killing, an umbrella group of more than 50 British medical, disability and religious charities opposed to euthanasia, said he was shocked by this latest study.

“I was amazed at how nonchalantly the issue was dealt with as if killing patients and then harvesting their organs was the most natural thing in the world,” he said.


He warned: “Given that half of all euthanasia cases in Belgium are involuntary it must be only a matter of time before the organs are taken from patients who are euthanised without their consent.

“The matter of fact way the retrieval process is described in the paper is particularly chilling and shows the degree of collaboration that is necessary between the euthanasia team and the transplant surgeons – prep them for theatre next to the operating room, then kill them and wheel them in for organ retrieval. All in a day’s work in Brave New Belgium.”


The study, entitled Initial Experience with Transplantation of Lungs Recovered From Donors After Euthanasia, showed that about 23.5 per cent of lung transplant donors in Belgium and 2.8 per cent of heart transplant donors are killed by euthanasia.

Euthanasia was legalised in Belgium in 2002 and now accounts for two per cent of all deaths in the country.

Last year’s study, which revealed that Belgian patients were being killed by euthanasia without consent, found that 248 nurses, representing almost a fifth of the nurses interviewed, had cared for euthanasia patients.

And nearly 50 per cent of these, some 120 nurses, had been involved in killing patients without their “explicit request”.

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