Looking to the Netherlands on Euthanasia

There was an article in the Vancouver Sun a few days ago about euthanasia in the Netherlands.

Cristina Alarcon, pharmacist in BC, comments on the article as follows:

RE: Euthanasia supporters, critics in Canada look to Dutch for evidence
As pointed out by Henk Reitsma, the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia in the Netherlands has lead to a “kind” of slippery slope; at its apex beams the patients’ apparent rights to self-determination, at its base lurks a chasm empowering the healthcare system to do what it wills.  And the non-compliant are over-dosed with sedatives, starved and dehydrated, practices that do not require reporting, thus avoiding risk of prosecution for not following proper “euthanasia” guidelines.  If guidelines are not always followed in the Netherlands, Canadians cannot presume to be exempt from misconduct.  And given our overtaxed healthcare system, the decriminalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada would be none other than a perfect recipe for abuse.

Cristina Alarcon

Cristina is right. To say there is not a problem with abuse due to euthanasia in the Netherlands because “rates” have not increased dramatically is a superficial assessment if not all of the data is taken into account. When euthanasia deaths go up by 19% from 2009 to 2010 there is some cause for concern. Also, Groningen University Hospital already decided to euthanize children under the age of 12 if their suffering is intolerable or if their condition is deemed incurable. Also, when your citizens are walking around with “Do not euthanize me” cards, according to the Nightingdale Alliance, it is usually not a good sign.

Maybe the slope is not that slippery yet but the Netherlands is definitely heading down the waterslide. And Canada, with all the attention being paid to out of control health care costs, may join them in the near future if we are not diligent in opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide.

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