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Euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands up and rising

Alex Schadenberg Alex Schadenberg Follow Alex

March 8, 2018 (Euthanasia Prevention Coalition) – The DutchNL news is reporting that the regional euthanasia review committee's annual report was released indicating that 6585 assisted deaths were reported in 2017, increasing by 8% from 6091 reported assisted deaths in 2016.

According to the DutchNL news, the number of assisted deaths for dementia or psychiatric reasons also increased in 2017, with 169 people dying by euthanasia for dementia (3 were advanced dementia) and 83 people dying by euthanasia for psychiatric reasons.  

In 2016 there were 141 people who died by euthanasia based on dementia, up from 109 in 2015 and 60 people who died by euthanasia for psychiatric reasons, up from 56 in 2015. 

In January 2017, a Netherlands euthanasia review committee decided that the death of a woman with dementia, who died by euthanasia against her will, was done in "good faith." The woman was held down while the doctor lethally injected her. On January 1, 2018, Berna van Baarsen, a euthanasia assessor for 10 years, resigned over the acceptance of euthanasia for dementia in the Netherlands. On January 26, 2018 a 29-year-old woman died by euthanasia for psychiatric reasons.

The DutchNL article indicated that 12 of the euthanasia deaths were questionable:

Twelve cases were labeled by the monitoring committee as not being carefully carried out – these were mainly problems with medical care or not having an independent second opinion.

The Netherlands euthanasia review committees are lying when they state that nearly all of the deaths are done according to the law. The fact is that they simply do not know how many assisted deaths occur outside of the law.

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) (August 3, 2017) published a Netherlands study titled: End-of-Life Decisions in the Netherlands over 25 years.

The study indicates that in 2015 there were 7254 assisted deaths (6672 euthanasia deaths, 150 assisted suicide deaths, 431 terminations of life without request) in the Netherlands.

A woman in the Netherlands was interviewed for the upcoming Fatal Flaws Film explaining how her mother died by euthanasia without request.

Since the Netherlands 2015 euthanasia report indicated that there were 5561 reported assisted deaths in 2015 and yet the data from the study indicated that there were 7254 assisted deaths in 2015. Therefore, based on the data from the study, 1693 (23%) of the assisted deaths were not reported.

The Netherlands euthanasia law uses a voluntary self-reporting system, meaning the doctor who lethally injects the patient also submits the report. Since doctors do not self-report abuse of the law, therefore the law enables doctors to cover-up "abuse" of the law. The 431 terminations of life without request are usually not reported.

Due to the design of the Netherlands law, it is impossible to know how many people actually die by an assisted death in the Netherlands. Sadly the Belgian and Canadian euthanasia laws contain the same Fatal Flaws as the Netherlands law.

Published with permission from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

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