Increase in the Netherlands
By Alex Schadenberg
Editorís note: The
following is reprinted with permission from the blog of the
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.
An article in the
Dutch News has reported that there were approximately 200 more
euthanasia deaths in 2009 as compared to 2008 in the Netherlands.
This means that approximately 2,500 euthanasia deaths took place in
2009 in the Netherlands, but the actual number is unknown because
the government acknowledges that only 80% of all euthanasia deaths
In order to have an
accurate picture of the number of deaths that are directly and
intentionally caused by physicians in the Netherlands, you need to
know that assisted suicide is a separate category in the
Netherlands. Therefore you must add the assisted suicide deaths to
the number of euthanasia deaths. The number of assisted suicide
deaths was not reported in the article but it is approximately 400
deaths each year.
Another category of
deaths is deaths without explicit consent. The most recent
government report (2005) showed that the number of deaths without
explicit consent was approximately 550. Many of the 550 deaths are
directly and intentionally caused by the physician but not reported
as euthanasia because they lacked consent.
It was also reported
that in 2007 approximately 10% of all deaths in the Netherlands were
connected to the practise of terminal sedation. Many of those deaths
were caused by dehydration, due to the physician sedating the
patient and then withholding hydration until death occurs, which
usually takes 10Ė14 days.
Finally, the article
acknowledged that people with dementia are dying by euthanasia in
the Netherlands, but the article didnít mention how many infants
died by euthanasia in 2009. The Groningen Protocol allows infants
who are born with disabilities to die by euthanasia based on the
request of the parents and the agreement of the physician.
Prevention Coalition is concerned that since the Netherlands does
not collect information concerning the euthanasia of people with
disabilities, we therefore ask the question, how many people with
disabilities are coerced into death by euthanasia based on a false
concept that living with a disability is a life of suffering.
The article stated:
The number of
registered cases of euthanasia rose by 200 to some 2,500 in 2009,
according to new figures from the official monitoring body, quoted
in the Telegraaf.
It is not known how
many cases of mercy killing there actually are in the Netherlands,
but in 2007 experts said around 80% of instances are registered with
the monitoring body.
There were also six
registered cases of euthanasia on elderly patients with senile
dementia, all of whom were in the early stages and able to make
their wishes known, the monitoring commission chairman Jan Suyver
told tv programme Nova.
Euthanasia for cases
of dementia has been officially recorded since 2003. In total, 22
cases have been registered and approved by the commission.
The law states a
number of criteria which must be met before euthanasia can be
administered. For example, the patient must be suffering unbearable
pain and the doctor must be convinced the patient is making an
The opinion of a
second doctor is also required.