“However harsh: euthanasia care cannot be identified as a top priority in health care.”
This blunt message was posted on the website of the Euthanasia Expert Centre (formerly known as the End of Life Clinic) in the Netherlands this week (and brought to our attention by Professor Theo Boer). The Centre announced that it would temporarily cease accepting new patients, and it would be suspending care for existing patients due to the evolving global pandemic.
In the interests of public health, our patients, their loved ones and employees of the expertise center, it is no longer responsible to continue our current care provision.
In addition, the care for current patients of Expertise Centre Euthanasia is suspended.
The Euthanasia Expert Centre is renowned for taking on euthanasia cases that others won’t accept. Last year, the Centre facilitated the euthanasia of almost 900 patients. The Centre, which was established in 2012, has been described as “a safety net for patients whose own doctor will not listen to their request for euthanasia”. The ultimate euthanasia doctor-shopping clinic.
In the Netherlands, the farce that euthanasia is required because terminally ill patients are experiencing unbearable suffering has crumbled. The scope creep that has occurred in that country now means that the service provided by the Euthanasia Expert Centre is more akin to elective surgery, which very quickly gets sidelined the moment doctors are required to provide lifesaving treatment elsewhere. The fact that the Centre has stated that euthanasia cannot be identified as a top priority in health care speaks volumes. In reality, it is not health care at all.
If the narrative about unbearable suffering were true, the Centre would be under fire for suspending operations and abandoning suffering patients. We might be waiting a while.