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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why the Dutch pro-life minority can't rule out their untimely death at the hands of the majority

In an article entitled, "Euthanasia in the Netherlands: Rick Santorum’s bogus statistics," Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler relies on technical Dutch definitions in too hastily dismissing Rick Santorum's comments on the euthanasia fears of elderly Dutch
"Man may not make a decision to end [my] life"
While conducting euthanasia research in the Netherlands, I learned first hand how the Dutch disguise death by doctors. The Remmelink report cited by Kessler actually revealed that while doctors used lethal injection to euthanize 949 patients a year without the patients' consent (clearly involuntary euthanasia), they also ended the lives of over 20,000 patients by "opioid overdose intending death" without the patients' consent (not defined as involuntary euthanasia but yielding the same deadly result for non-consenting patients).[i]
In the Netherlands, I interviewed officials of the 70,000-member Dutch Patients Organization (Nederlandse Patienten Vereniging), which defends patient rights. The organization recognized a need to publish for concerned patients guidance documents (pictured at left) that read, "Under no circumstances may a treatment be given with the intention of ending my life, because I believe that man may not make a decision to end life."
The minority of Dutch who oppose euthanasia have good reason to feel vulnerable to an unsolicited death at the hands of the majority.

[i] van der Maas PJ, van der Wal G, Haverkate I, et al. Euthanasia physician-assisted suicide and other medical practices involving the end of life in the Netherlands 1990-1995. N Engl J Med 1996;335:1699–1705.

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