13 years ago, in 2002, Belgium passed a law making “physician-assisted suicide” lawful, that is, instead of saving lives, it is part of a medical doctor’s job to end a patient’s life.
Since then, the country has acquired the decidedly dubious reputation of having the most liberal euthanasia law in the world. And even though Belgians are predominantly Roman Catholic, surveys show overwhelming support for the right to die by euthanasia.
Since the law’s passage, the number of Belgians choosing euthanasia has steadily risen each year, with more than 1,800 dying this way in 2013 – that’s an average of about 5 people a day. In 2014, Belgium made headlines when it became the first country in the world to extend euthanasia to children with disabilities and terminal illnesses.
Now comes the even more horrifying news that thousands of Belgians are being euthanized against their will.
Sarah Zagorski reports for LifeNews, June 12, 2015, citing the Daily Mail, that a new study published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, reveals that around one in every 60 patient deaths in Belgium involved someone who didn’t want to die, i.e., they were euthanized against their will. Of those thousands of Belgians who had been murdered by their physicians:
- Half were over the age of 80.
- Two-thirds were not suffering from a terminal disease.
Doctors didn’t inform the patient’s family because they believed medical staff should make the decision.
The author of the study, Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor of Hull University, said, “The decision as to which life is no longer worth living is not in the hands of the patient but in the hands of the doctor. It should also be noted that deliberately ending the lives of patients without their request is taking place in Belgium more than in all other countries that document such practices, including the Netherlands. It is worrying that some physicians take upon themselves the responsibility to deliberately shorten patients’ lives without a clear indication from the patients that this is what they would want. The Belgian population should be aware of the present situation and know that if their lives may come to the point where physicians think they are not worth living, in the absence of specific living wills advising physicians what to do then, they might be put to death.”
Alex Schadenberg from the Euthanasia Prevention Coaction said: “The Belgian Socialist government is adamant that the euthanasia law needs to extend to minors and people with dementia even though there are significant examples of how the current law is being abused and the bracket creep of acceptable reasons for euthanasia continues to grow. The current practice of euthanasia in Belgium appears to have become an easy way to cover-up medical errors.”
Dr. Eowyn’s post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds.