Grim reaper on wheels: Dutch right-to-die group wants ‘mobile euthanasia teams’
AMSTERDAM, December 1, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Dutch euthanasia advocacy group, “The Right To Die” (NVVE), is proposing a plan where “mobile teams of doctors and nurses … can help people to die in their own homes,” according to DutchNews.nl.
On November 30 health minister Edith Schippers told MPs that the proposal earlier this month by NVVE spokeswoman Walburg de Jong to create the mobile units “for patients who meet the criteria for euthanasia but whose doctors are unwilling to carry it out,” is worthy of consideration.
“If the patients thinks it desirable, the doctor can refer him or her to a mobile team or clinic,” the minister wrote in answer to questions from ChristenUnie party MPs during a discussion of the country’s euthanasia laws.
Euthanasia numbers are consistently rising in the Netherlands, with the number of reported deaths up 19 percent in 2010 to 3,136.
In 2010, the NVVE also argued that people with dementia or chronic psychiatric problems were not being properly served by Dutch euthanasiasts, and offered to ameliorate the situation by both advocating to expand the eligibility criteria for euthanasia, and to open an assisted suicide facility based on the model of the notorious Swiss facility “Dignitas.”
NVVE’s director, Petra de Jong, said in an interview with Volkskrant at the time that while 80% of the Netherlands’ 204 hospices offer euthanasia, mentally ill patients are being “missed.”
Currently euthanasia in the Netherlands is only technically legal when the patient is sound of mind and capable of consistently expressing the death wish. Once dementia has set in, it is legally too late.
Recently, however, the case of a 64-year-old Dutch woman with Alzheimer’s who was euthanized was widely publicized as the “first” such case in the country. The woman, a long-time euthanasia advocate, had reportedly left a note prior to her descent into dementia expressing her wish for euthanasia.
“It’s hardly news when word comes out from the Netherlands that either the government, medical professionals or some private organization are seeking to expand the scope of the euthanasia laws,” wrote Stephen Drake, research analyst for the disability rights group, “Not Dead Yet,” in a commentary on the NVVE’s mobile euthanasia proposal.
“After all, the consistent trend in the Netherlands has been to expand the practices of euthanasia and assisted suicide by expanding eligibility criteria, as we’ve written about.”
Drake comments not only on the proposal to create “mobile teams” that will euthanize people with disabilities, but also on the bias of the mainstream media when reporting on euthanasia and assisted suicide, and the disinformation that pervades the issue.
“It’s also not unusual for the newswire reporters to disseminate articles on assisted suicide, euthanasia, and the Netherlands that are just factually wrong - often egregiously. The Associated Press, in spite of having a code of journalistic ethics it claims to adhere to, is one of the most consistent offenders,” Drake stated.
Read the full text of Stephen Drake’s commentary here.