Originally published July 16 2015
Western doctors are now killing their patients in cold blood under euthanasia laws
by Daniel Barker
(NaturalNews) A recent study by the Journal of Medical Ethics revealed a disturbing practice being carried out in Belgian hospitals -- namely, the deliberate euthanasia of patients without their voluntary consent.
Raphael Cohen-Almagor, professor of philosophy and ethics at the UK's Hull University and author of the report, discovered that lethal drugs were being used to "shorten life and without explicit request."
These cases of deliberate euthanasia accounted for 1.7 percent of all deaths in Belgium during 2013. The practice typically involved patients who were comatose, suffering from dementia or "because discussion would have been harmful to the patient's best interest" -- a very contentious judgment, indeed.
This highly questionable and unethical practice is all the more curious since a 2002 Belgian law called the Euthanasia Act prohibits administering life-ending drugs except in cases where the patient has given explicit, voluntary consent.
As Cohen-Almagor wrote:
"At the heart of this legislation is the free will of the patient who asks for euthanasia. It is worrying that some physicians take upon themselves the responsibility to deliberately shorten patients' lives without a clear indication from the patients that this is what they would want."
The law clearly states that a request for euthanasia from a patient must be "voluntary, well-considered, and repeated and... not the result of any external pressure."
However, a paper published in 2014 by the Belgian Society of Intensive Care Medicine Council explores the use of drugs "with the direct intention of shortening the dying process of terminal palliative care in patients with no prospect of a meaningful recovery."
The paper also advises that the withdrawal of care and the increased dosage of lethal sedatives "must not be interpreted as killing."
Which begs the question: How is euthanasia without consent any different than murder?
An even more shocking revelation is that in many of these cases even the families of the patients are not being consulted, with doctors viewing the practice as a "medical decision" that only they should have the power to make.
The cases in which euthanasia without consent has been carried out are rarely reported, which is also a violation of the Euthanasia Act.
From the conclusion of the Cohen-Almagor study:
The liberal state has an obligation to protect the vulnerable. Given that ending patients' lives without request is more common than euthanasia, it is suggested to urge the Belgian medical profession to put this issue high on its agenda. The lives of many patients are still shortened involuntarily. ...
The Belgians are researching the way their dying patients are being handled in a medical context. Their culture of self-searching is certainly necessary. The Belgians should ensure that their policy is not abused.
The Belgian "liberal state" should be universally condemned for this practice. It is an unconscionable act for doctors to place their own judgment above the wishes of their patients. Even if the patient is unable to discuss his or her own condition, it is not for the doctor to decide whether the patient should live or die, particularly when the family has no say in the matter.
These practices set a dangerous precedent, in my opinion. For one thing, what about the admittedly rare but significant number of cases where people have awakened from a coma after months or even years? And how does one decide whether discussing euthanasia is "harmful to the patient's best interest"? Even in cases of dementia, wouldn't it still be a more merciful act to at least ask patients what their wishes are? If the ultimate choice is to end their life anyway, I don't see the harm in at least asking or letting them know that the decision is being made.
After all, these are human beings with basic rights -- including the right to live -- and we must never forget or ignore that fact.
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