Holland Guide to the World?
Holland Guide to the World?Dr. med K F Gunning MD*
This week our parliament reversed the law that forbids killing patients deliberately. That is contrary to Art. 2 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights which says: "Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law." The new law allows doctors to kill a patient under certain conditions. Only killing at the patient's explicit request is allowed. by the new law. The euthanizing doctor must make a report stating that all the conditions were met. That report is sent to a committee that must judge whether the doctor acted correctly, and on the basis of this report the committee must judge. But the author of the report is the doctor himself. Can we be sure that the report is truthful? According to Dutch
jurisdiction no one can be expected to accuse himself. If the doctor has killed a patient against his will, that point will not be mentioned in the report. How can the committee discover that the report is false? The chief witness, the patient, is dead. Relatives may be interested in the inheritance..
The new law takes away the protection of the patient's right to life, promised by the European Convention. Holland has become a guide for the world, only a guide directing the world in the wrong direction. Holland is very proud to be the first country to legalize patient-killing, but it seems to be heading for a world where the doctor decides about life and death., a society where doctors give out certificates for those who are allowed to live. Will people accept such a society? I doubt it. I think Holland is miscalculating the world's urge to "claim euthanasia".
How is it possible that Holland became the pioneer? Dutch doctors have risked their lives by refusing to take part in Hitler's euthanasia program, that killed over a hundred thousand German patients with a mental handicap. I think the answer is that there is a worldwide strategy to promote abortion and euthanasia, and that Holland was chosen as the pioneer-country. To promote euthanasia., like the UK was the first country to legalize abortion.
The battle for the legalization of euthanasia began some 25 years ago with the media strongly supporting this patient-killing movement. Then a woman-doctor killed her own mother, who was not really ill but depressed. She got a probatory few weeks detention, but never entered prison. Since then the courts have continued to add new cases in wich euthanasia can be committed without punishment.
In 1995 and in 1990 (Remmelink Committee) research has been done regarding the extent of what the Dutch government calls euthanasia: intentional life-ending treatment at the patient's request. In the second report regarding this research of 1995 the numbers of cases of euthanasia, calculated for both years, are given
Beside the cases of euthanasia, according to the Dutch definition, other situations of life-ending (active or refrained), with or without a request by the patient, with or without the doctor's intention to kill, were investigated.. Thereby intensifying pain treatment and refraining from (further) treatment are considered to be "normal medical treatment", even when the doctor has the intention or partly the intention to end the patient's life.
If all cases in which a patient died after a decision by the doctor to hasten the end of his life are counted together, then we get the following picture:
Almost 20,000 cases, that is over 15% of all deaths in Holland in 1990
(2.1% euthanasia Dutch version).
Over 26,000 cases, that is almost 20% of all deaths in Holland in 1995
(2.7% euthanasia Dutch version).
Assuming that these figures approximately represent reality, then in 1995 over 25,000 patients died after a doctor's decision to hasten the end of his life, that is in almost 20% of all deaths in the Netherlands in 1995. In many cases there was no request by the patient.
These are figures that should make us think. And it looks like these numbers will only increase when the euthanasia law has been adopted. When I told a colleague that in nearly 20% of all deaths a doctor had taken a decision to hasten the end of life, he answered: "That should become 100%".
And yet I don't believe that will happen. I don't think the world will follow the Dutch guide. I think the Dutch example will show too clearly that it is impossible to allow killing patients who want to be killed without taking away the protection of patients who don't want to be killed.. That is too high a price for the "luxury" of being able to choose euthanasia.
I believe that God has a quite different plan for the world, and I think mankind will find that plan and start to follow it. That is why I believe it is good to fight this Pro-life battle with love and respect for our opponents. In the end they will be our allies again. At the same time we should ask ourselves why our opponents succeeded in getting euthanasia accepted by so many Dutchmen We might find a way to turn the tide.
*PRESIDENT: K.F.GUNNING MD, GROENE WETERING 24, 3062 PC ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS GENERAL SECRETARY: PH.SCHEPENS MD, SERRUYSLAAN 76, B-8400 OSTEND, BELGIUM
1. G.van der Wal, P.J.van der Maas,"Euthanasie en andere medische beslissingen rond het levenseinde"
SDU,den Haag, 1996