Those crazhy Dutch are at it again. According to the UK’s Daily Mail, the Dutch government have come up with an idea to have mobile teams of terminators (or is the correct term “liquidator”, I can never remember) to euthanase people in their own home.
As a resident of the Netherlands, I am curious to know if they’ll include this service on the new Health Insurance proposals for 2012?
The units, dubbed ‘grim reapers on wheels’ by critics, will be called in to kill patients when their own GPs refuse to administer lethal drugs.
The mobile teams of doctors and nurses would be sent out from a clinic following a referral from the patient’s doctor.
The proposals were revealed by Dutch Health Minister Edith Schippers during a debate on euthanasia in the Dutch parliament.
In answer to questions from Christian Union MPs she said that mobile units ‘for patients who meet the criteria for euthanasia but whose doctors are unwilling to carry it out’ was worthy of consideration.
‘If the patient thinks it desirable, the doctor can refer him or her to a mobile team or clinic,’ the minister wrote.
The mobile units are being aggressively promoted by Dutch euthanasia campaign groups who want to expand the eligibility criteria for euthanasia and also to open facilities specifically for euthanasia along the pattern of the Dignitas centre in Switzerland.
They claim that 80 per cent of people with dementia or mental illnesses were being ‘missed’ by the country’s euthanasia laws.
They are supported by the Dutch Medical Association which this summer issued guidance effectively saying even people who complained of being lonely could qualify for euthanasia if it constitutes ‘unbearable and lasting suffering’.
In Holland, euthanasia is usually carried out by administering a strong sedative to put the patient in a coma, followed by a drug to stop breathing and cause death.
To qualify, patients must convince two doctors they are making an informed choice in the face of unbearable suffering.
It has long been suspected that numbers of cases are being under-reported, however, as doctors apply a liberal interpretation of the law.
Earlier this year official figures revealed for the first time that doctors have been killing dementia sufferers, including Alzheimer’s victims.
A total of 21 people diagnosed as having early-stage dementia died at the hands of their doctors last year, according to the 2010 annual report on euthanasia.
At the same time, a series of public meetings were held to encourage the elderly to learn about their ‘right to die’.
The figures from last year also showed another year-on-year rise in cases with about 2,700 people choosing to death by injection compared to 2,636 the year before.
In 2003, the year after Holland became the first nation to legalise euthanasia since Nazi Germany, there were just 1,815 reported cases.
The Dutch government, however, insists that the law is not being abused.
‘The greatest care has been taken to regulate care for patients who are suffering unbearably with no prospect of improvement,’ said a spokesman.
‘Euthanasia may only be carried out at the explicit request of the patient.’