Vulnerable people being euthanised without consent

Hundreds of vulnerable patients are being killed in the Netherlands without giving clear consent, it has been revealed.

‘Strict protective guidelines’ supposed to protect vulnerable and elderly patients from being killed against their will are being flouted, leading to the deaths of 431 people in 2015, none of whom gave clear consent.

And in Canada, over 1,300 people have been legally killed since the country passed its Assisted Dying law last year.

Serious concerns

In January 2016, the Dutch Government extended the law to include people with severe dementia, but a study published the following month highlighted serious concerns with such a law.

Researcher Scott Kim described the case of a woman with dementia in her 70s who had previously agreed to be euthanised if her husband died, claiming life would not be worth living.

But when her husband died, and she was killed by euthansia, a consultant reported that the woman “did not feel depressed at all. She ate, drank and slept well. She followed the news and undertook activities.”

In October, the Dutch Government stated it was planning to liberalise the law further, to allow euthanasia for people over the age of 75 who are neither sick nor dying, but who claim to have lived a “completed life”.

‘Slippery slope’

Alex Schadenburg of the Canadian-based Euthanasia Prevention Coalition said that despite claims to the contrary, once euthanasia is legalised, “euthanasia will continue to increase and extend to more human conditions”.

He added: “A practical slippery slope exists and the Netherlands experience with euthanasia clearly proves it.”

Schadenberg also expressed his concern that euthanasia is on the rise in Canada, just a year after it was legalised. He said that, based on the rising number of assisted deaths, it was possible that Canada “will surpass the Netherlands”.

Pressure

“It is also concerning that the euthanasia lobby are pressuring to have euthanasia extended to people with mental illness, people who are under 18 and for people who are incompetent, but who stated in their power of attorney document that they would want to die by euthanasia”, he added.

Pro-life groups in Canada say that normalising medically assisted death sends the message that the life of a person who is ill, disabled or elderly is not worth living.

They also argue that the Canadian Government should instead be investing in better palliative care and better support for those living with disabilities.

Amy Hasbrouck, speaking on behalf of disability rights group Not Dead Yet Canada, said: “These are public policy decisions that end up sacrificing the lives of old, ill and disabled people.”