The long awaited 2010 nationwide examination of the euthanasia law in the
was published in the Lancet on July 11, 2012. The study found that:
* the number of euthanasia deaths has grown significantly since 2005 (4050 in 2010, 2425 in 2005),
* the under-reporting of euthanasia in the
has grown since 2005 (23% in 2010, 20% in 2005),
* there is a growth in deaths by terminal sedation (12.3% in 2010, 8.2% in 2005),
* the percentage of requests for euthanasia being fulfilled has increased (45% in 2010, 37% in 2005).
* the number of deaths without request or consent has decreased (310 in 2010, 550 in 2005).
The media decided to ignore the significant growth in the number of euthanasia deaths since 2005, by reporting that the current percentage of euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands is similar to the percentage of euthanasia deaths in 2001, before it was officially legalized.
From 1984 to 2002 a series of legal decisions led to a widening application of euthanasia. The courts allowed euthanasia for people living chronic depression (mental pain), to children who were born with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups.
In 2001, the
parliament official legalized euthanasia along the guidelines that were
approved by the successive court decisions. The law officially came into effect
in April 2002. Therefore euthanasia and assisted suicide were common before
being legalized in the Netherlands.
Significant growth in Euthanasia:
The rate of increase of reported euthanasia deaths has accelerated over the past few years with a 19% increase in 2010 and a 13% increase in 2009.
The continued increase in the number of euthanasia deaths may be partly explained by the increase in the number euthanasia deaths that are carried out after request. In 2005 37% of requests for euthanasia were fulfilled while in 2010 45% of requests were fulfilled.
There has also been a 50 percent increase in the number of deaths by terminal sedation since 2005. Terminal sedation is usually done by sedating a person and withdrawing fluids and food. Palliative sedation is different than terminal sedation because with palliative sedation the intention is to allow natural death to occur. Terminal Sedation is viewed by some people as an alternative to euthanasia. When a person is not otherwise dying, the act of terminal sedation is more accurately a form of euthanasia and should be referred to as “slow euthanasia.”
The media reports:
The medical daily reported that: Rates of Euthanasia are steady since 2002 legalization, Fox news reported: Little change in Dutch euthanasia post-legality, and ABC.net.au reported: Euthanasia number remain the same after legalization – study.
|Dr. Peter Saunders|
A thorough response was written by Dr. PeterSaunders, Campaign Director for the Care Not Killing Alliance in the
Saunders article focused on the incredible shift towards the use of Deep
Continuous Sedation (Terminal Sedation) in order to keep the number of
euthanasia deaths officially low.
Euthanasia in the Netherlands:
The rate of euthanasia in the Netherlands has increased by 73% in the last 8 years (1815 reported deaths in 2003, 3136 reported deaths in 2010) and even more important, the rate of euthanasia has increased by almost 35% in the past two years (2331 reported deaths in 2008, 3136 reported deaths in 2010).
Combined with the growth in the use of terminal sedation for people who are not otherwise dying “slow euthanasia” and the slight increase in the number of unreported euthanasia deaths, one must conclude that there are abuses occurring in the
The mobile euthanasia teams plan to fill unmet demand for euthanasia for people with chronic depression (mental pain), people with disabilities, people with dementia/Alzheimer, loneliness, and those whose request for euthanasia is declined by their physician. In 2010 45% of all euthanasia requests resulted in death by euthanasia.
Similar to the previous euthanasia reports (1990, 1995, 2001, 2005) the 2010 report uncovers significant concerns related to the practice of euthanasia in the Netherlands.
Legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide is not safe and the safeguards that are devised to control euthanasia do not protect the dying, but rather they protect the doctor.