Marlowe's Shade

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Belgian Euthanasia Doctor Charged with Murders

From Expatica

An Oostende doctor has been accused of murdering five elderly patients in a coastal nursing home in the past three years.

The victims — all of whom were suffering from dementia — died after being injected with a lethal dose of morphine.

The doctor, identified only as Boudewijn D.W., has admitted administering the treatment, but has denied murdering his patients.

A Brugge judge ordered the man's arrest on Friday, but he was released on Tuesday morning. Investigations into the deaths continue, newspaper 'Het Nieuwsblad' reported on Wednesday.

The doctor has claimed he only wanted to end his patients' suffering and that he had discussed giving them

injections with their families and nursing staff.

However, the nursing home Sint-Monica in Oostende reported the deaths to authorities and the doctor was arrested on suspicion of five murders.

Belgium law permits euthanasia if strict procedures are followed, but nursing home spokesman Alex Daenekindt has denied the five deaths were a form of euthanasia.

And an Oostende lawyer said euthanasia regulations are very precise, pointing out that the request must come from the patient and that the doctor must be certain the patient is suffering from an incurable illness.

A second medical opinion must be sought and the nursing team should be consulted along with the patient's family. The medical dossier must then report all of these steps and outline the conclusions.

As I've pointed out before, the legalization of euthanasia only makes the already difficult task of detecting medical serial killers harder. Whether this Belgian doctor turns out to be one remains to be seen, but based on the actions of the nursing home, it seems likely. The nursing home is to be applauded for exposing his crimes. However this case also illustrates how ineffective euthanasia "guidelines" are at protecting victims like these 5 patients.
papijoe 6:32 AM