November 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Earlier this month, a public prosecutor in the Hague announced a rare event: Charges were being laid against a doctor for her actions in regard to the euthanasia of an elderly woman with dementia, who was residing in a nursing home at the time. Although the woman had given several different statements about her desire for euthanasia over time, her family decided that she should be killed anyhow, and the doctor laced her coffee with sedatives.
The plan was to first drug the elderly woman to sleep, and then give her a lethal injection while she was unconscious. The doctor slipped the drugs into her coffee as she chatted pleasantly with her family, but the woman failed to actually fall asleep. The doctor then attempted to put her to sleep with a second shot, which the woman appeared to find very uncomfortable. When she finally drifted off, the doctor attempted to give her a lethal injection, but she suddenly stood up. And that is when the patient’s family helped to pin the old woman down, while the doctor quickly injected her with the poison that killed her.
Despite the manifold horrors of Holland’s euthanasia regime, this was apparently a bridge too far, and the prosecutor has publicly rebuked the doctor for not consulting with the woman about whether or not she actually wanted to be killed before killing her. It must be said, however, that two doctors previously facing criminal charges in the Netherlands for crimes related to euthanasia eventually had the charges dropped. It is notoriously hard to discern the victim’s specific desires when they are dead.
And now Belgian officials are also launching a criminal investigation into a dubious case of euthanasia, the first case of its kind since euthanasia was legalized in 2002. Belgium (and the Netherlands) permit euthanasia not only for reasons of physical pain and suffering, but also for psychiatric reasons, on the grounds that “unbearable and untreatable” suffering can also exist for people with these conditions. But in 2010, three doctors from East Flanders may have pushed the line too far when they “poisoned” Tine Nys, a 38-year-old woman with Aspberger’s syndrome.
There has been some outrage in the wake of this supposedly legal killing, with many highlighting the fact that a mild form of autism should not constitute a valid reason for state-facilitated death. The family of Tine Nys filed a criminal complaint in 2017, accusing the doctors of “irregularities” in her death—and the doctors promptly attempted to block the investigation. Dr. Lieve Thienpont, the psychiatrist who signed off on Nys’ death request (and one of the three facing charges), accused the family of being “dysfunctional, wounded, traumatized…with little empathy and respect for others,” stating that “we must try to stop these people.”
Sophie Nys, a sister of the dead woman, told the press in response that the doctor who killed Tine actually asked Tine’s parents to hold the needle while he injected the lethal drugs, and even asked the family to check Tine’s heart with a stethoscope to confirm her death. Francis Clarysse, a Ghent prosecutor, as indicated that the doctors will face trial “due to poisoning”—a strange charge in a country where over 10,000 people have been legally poisoned by euthanasia practitioners over the past fifteen years. In this particular case, however, even the head of Belgium’s euthanasia review commission, Dr. Wim Distelmans, feels that Dr. Theinpont went too far.
Considering the cases that Belgium’s euthanasia doctors killed without qualms or objections, it is almost surprising that charges are being pressed at all: A transsexual heartbroken over several botches sex-change surgeries, blind twins who felt they could not live without their sight, terminally ill children as young as nine and eleven years of age, and people with chronic depression, to name just a few. Only one other case has resulted in criminal charges, and that case was dropped. When it is legal for doctors to kill, it becomes very hard to nail down a killer on a technicality.
My suspicion is that nothing will come of these charges. Yes, it is true: Doctors in the Netherlands and Belgium poisoned people, and those people died. One of them even struggled for life, and was pinned down by her own family as a doctor killed her. But these sorts of things are bound to happen when you legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide. Horrifying new stories crop up nearly every month in countries that have created euthanasia regimes, and eventually, people become numb to them. In the meantime, it will be very difficult to convict doctors for poisoning people once you have decided that lethal injections are part of their job.