NRL News

Three days before Great Britain resumes debate, the Daily Mail publishes alarming look at increase in “assisted dying” in the Netherland

by | Jan 13, 2015


By Dave Andrusko

Dr. Peter Saunders

Dr. Peter Saunders

This Friday the British House of Lords will resume its debate on Lord Falconer’s very dangerous “Assisted Dying Bill.” The Daily Mail is to be highly commended for its thorough—and thoroughly alarming—look today at euthanasia in the Netherlands, the overall number and more specifically those who were diagnosed as “mentally ill.”

Proponents will say that “only” 42 people with mental illnesses were euthanized in 2014. Note the curve: that is triple the number who were euthanized in 2012.

Likewise there has been a whopping 15% increase in “assisted deaths” in the Netherlands in that same two year span, according to the Daily Mail’s Simon Caldwell: 4,188 cases in 2012 and 4,829 cases last year.

Caldwell turned to two experts—Theodore Boer and Peter Saunders—to put these numbers into context. He writes

The incremental rise is consistent with a 13 per cent increase in 2012, an 18 per cent rise in 2011, 19 per cent in 2010 and 13 per cent in 2009.

The rise is also likely to confirm the fears of Dutch regulator Theo Boer who told the Daily Mail that he expected to see euthanasia cases smash the 6,000 barrier in 2014.

Overall, deaths by euthanasia, which officially account for three per cent of all deaths in the Netherlands, have increased by 151 per cent in just seven years.

Most cases – some 3,600 people – involved cancer sufferers but there were also 97 people who died at the hands of their doctors because they were suffering from dementia, the figures show.

The figures, however, do not include cases of so-called terminal sedation, where patients are given a cocktail of sedatives and narcotics before food and fluids are withdrawn.

Studies suggest that if such deaths were added to the figure then euthanasia would account for one in eight – about 12.3 per cent – of all deaths in the Netherlands. [Emphasis added]

Prof. Theo Boer

Prof. Theo Boer

Dr. Saunders (whose columns we regularly repost at NRL News Today) told Caldwell flatly, “Euthanasia in the Netherlands is way out of control.”

What if the numbers were extrapolated to Britain? “The House of Lords calculated in 2005 that with a Dutch-type law in Britain we would be seeing over 13,000 cases of euthanasia per year,” Saunders said. “What we are seeing in the Netherlands is ‘incremental extension’–the steady, intentional escalation of numbers with a gradual widening of the categories of patients to be included.”

Saunders cautioned that this expansion is not confined to the Netherlands. A similar pattern exists in Belgium, Switzerland, and Oregon.

“The lessons are clear,” Saunders said. “Once you relax the law on euthanasia or assisted suicide steady extension will follow as night follows day.”

He added, “Britain needs to take warning as debate on the Falconer bill continues.”

Categories: Assisted Suicide