By Alex SchadenbergInternational Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.
The 2013 Netherlands euthanasia report was released today indicating a 15% increase of reported euthanasia deaths. There were also 42 euthanasia deaths for people with psychiatric problems and 97 euthanasia deaths for people with dementia.
The 2013 report indicated that there were 4829 reported euthanasia deaths which was up from 4188 in 2012. As bad as it is, the reported euthanasia deaths do not include the unreported euthanasia deaths.
The five year Netherlands euthanasia Lancet study indicated that in 2010, 23% of all euthanasia deaths went unreported in the Netherlands, which was up from 20% in 2005. The under-reporting of euthanasia in the Netherlands represents (20% - 23%) of all euthanasia deaths. It is likely that the actual number of euthanasia deaths is (965 - 1100) deaths higher.
The number of reported euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands is continually increasing. There was a 15% increase in 2013, 13% in 2012, 18% in 2011, 19% in 2010. Further to that:
There were 2331 reported euthanasia deaths in 2008.
There were 2636 reported euthanasia deaths in 2009.
There were 3136 reported euthanasia deaths in 2010.
There were 3695 reported euthanasia deaths in 2011.
There were 4188 reported euthanasia deaths in 2012.
There were 4829 reported euthanasia deaths in 2013.
Theo Boer, a Dutch ethicist who had been a 9 year member of a euthanasia regional review committee recently wrote an article explaining why he has changed his mind and now opposes euthanasia. He explained how the Netherlands law has expanded its reasons for euthanasia and how the number of euthanasia deaths was constantly increasing turning euthanasia into a perceived right rather than an exception.
The reasons for euthanasia continues to expand in the Netherlands. For instance:
- Recently the euthanasia clinic was reprimanded (not shut down) for lethally injecting a woman because she didn't want to live in a nursing home.
- Dutch pediatricians are wanting euthanasia extended to children under 12.
- A healthy woman, who was going blind, was euthanized because she was obsessed with cleanliness and feared being unable to clean the dirt on her clothes.
EPC predicted that there would be a continuous increase in the number and reasons for euthanasia after the Netherlands euthanasia lobby launched six mobile euthanasia teams.
The mobile euthanasia teams claimed that they would fill the "unmet demand" for euthanasia for people with chronic depression (mental pain), people with disabilities, people with dementia and loneliness, and for those whose request for euthanasia was declined by their physician.
Dutch ethicist, Theo Boer, stated in his recent article that: I used to be a supporter of legislation. But now, with twelve years of experience, I take a different view. Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is not likely to ever go back in again.
We need to heed the warning from Theo Boer. We need to reject killing people by euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Links to more information on the Netherlands euthanasia law:
Dutch ethicist - Assisted suicide: "Don't go there".Dutch ethicist - Assisted suicide: "Don't go there".
Euthanasia: Incremental extensions are inevitable.
Dutch health minister: 45 psychiatric euthanasia deaths in 2013.
The Netherlands euthanasia law has derailed.
Blind woman dies by euthanasia in the Netherlands.
Mobile euthanasia deaths begins in the Netherlands.
Netherlands 2012 euthanasia report.