Marlowe's Shade

Friday, April 28, 2006

Rates of Euthanasia Increase Again in Holland

From Seattle PI

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- The number of reported cases of legal euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide in the Netherlands increased in 2005 for the third year in a row, a Dutch agency said Thursday.

The figures released by the Regional Oversight Boards for Euthanasia showed doctors reported 1,933 cases in 2005, up from 1,886 in 2004 and 1,815 in 2003. Studies have estimated that reported cases represent slightly more than half of all euthanasias.

The Netherlands became the first country to legalize euthanasia in 2001. Belgium legalized it under strict conditions in 2002, and Switzerland allows passive assistance to terminally ill people who have expressed a wish to die. In the United States, only Oregon has an law allowing doctor-assisted suicides.

The Dutch law allows euthanasia for adults of sound mind who ask to die and are deemed to be suffering great pain from illness with no hope of recovery. Two doctors must agree with the decision, and patients are killed with a mix of sedatives and a lethal dose of muscle relaxant.

Let's keep in mind that most cases of euthanasia are not reported, so these numbers are a fraction of the actual cases.

The agency said that in three of the reported cases, the guidelines were not followed correctly and the doctors were referred to judicial authorities for possible prosecution.

In two cases, the doctor who performed the euthanasia did not consult sufficiently with an independent doctor. In the third, the doctor was an acquaintance of the cancer patient and the board found he did not have a strong enough doctor-patient relationship to properly authorize and carry out euthanasia.

Don't hold your breath waiting for a verdict...
papijoe 8:55 AM