International experience reveals protection for doctors, but not for patients.
A Dutch court has cleared a doctor who performed euthanasia on a woman with dementia.
Medical Express reported that the “patient was given fatal doses of drugs despite some indications she might have changed her mind since declaring in writing that she wanted euthanasia.”
According to Medical Express:
The court ruled that in rare cases of euthanasia that were being performed on patients with severe dementia—and who had earlier made a written request for euthanasia—the doctor “did not have to verify the current desire to die.”
Judges at The Hague District Court ruled that the doctor met all criteria for carrying out euthanasia under the Dutch law legalizing mercy killing by physicians.
The doctor was accused of not acting with due care because, prosecutors alleged, she made insufficient efforts to find out whether the patient still wanted to die. To carry out the euthanasia, the physician drugged the patient’s coffee without her knowledge and then had family members restrain the woman while delivering the fatal injection.
Euthanasia Expertise Center spokesman Steven Pleiter approved of the decision.
“It feels good for people in the Netherlands that this is a clear view of the judges and court that it is possible to give euthanasia to a person who is not mentally competent any longer,” he said.
While a spokesman for the prosecution department said that they would carefully consider the judgment before deciding whether to apply to have it overturned.
Medical Express further reported that:
Under Dutch law, people are eligible for euthanasia if they make a considered, voluntary request for it and if their suffering is hopelessly “unbearable.” Patients can draw up a written request for euthanasia to be performed sometime in the future, in an advance directive, which should specify the conditions determining when they want to be euthanized. Doctors must also seek the advice of at least one other independent physician before killing the patient.
Dutch investigators began scrutinizing the case last September, marking the first time a doctor was criminally investigated for euthanasia.
The 74-year-old woman had renewed her living will about a year before she died, writing that she wanted to be euthanized “whenever I think the time is right.” Later, the patient said several times in response to being asked if she wanted to die: “But not just now, it’s not so bad yet!” according to a report from the Dutch regional euthanasia review committee.
In announcing the verdict, the court said the patient no longer recognized her own reflection in the mirror.
Suzanne van de Vathorst, an ethics professor from Erasmus University, disapproved of the decision.
“There’s a living, breathing person in front of you who is not aware that you’re performing euthanasia,” she said. “This is a very difficult thing to do and we cannot oblige doctors to do this.”
This international example of dangerous bias in euthanasia ‘protections’, may also be driving the euthanasia agenda of the WA Labor Government, according to FamilyVoice WA Director Darryl Budge,
“Amber-Jade Sanderson, who authored the WA Government’s parliamentary report on euthanasia, claimed on Flashpoint on Channel 9, ‘We can provide a safe and compassionate system that will protect doctors and also provide dying people a choice of how they will die,’” Mr Budge said.
“However, WA Health Minister Roger Cook told Parliament, ‘The [VAD] bill does not require any regulations to be made.’ He then added, ‘It is not anticipated that any regulations will be made under this bill.’
“However, Ms Sanderson told Flashpoint, ‘We don’t write regulations until bills are passed’, leaving viewers to assume that patient protections will be strengthened, despite the Health Minister denying any plans to do so.
“Therefore it appears that the WA government has prioritized legal protection for doctors. The emphasis seems to be on the autonomy of patients, without much regard for the many avenues for abuse, doctor steering, and ignorance of patients’ mental health,” Mr Budge concluded.