International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
The media in the Netherlands has reported that the number of reported euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands in 2011 increased by 18% to 3695. The report also stated that 13 psychiatric patients died by euthanasia, up from 2 reported psychiatric euthanasia deaths in 2010.
Euthanasia for psychiatric patients in the Netherlands will likely increase over the next few years in response to a article published last year in the Journal of Psychiatry advocating for the expansion of euthanasia for psychiatric patients in the Netherlands.
As bad as these statistics may seem they only tell part of the story.
On July 11, 2012, The Lancet published a meta-analysis study concerning the practice of euthanasia and end-of-life practices in the Netherlands in 2010 with a comparison to the previous studies that were done in 2005, 2001, 1995 and 1990.
The Lancet study indicated that in 2010, 23% of all euthanasia deaths were not reported. The Lancet study found that there were 3136 reported euthanasia deaths in 2010, and after adding the unreported deaths there were actually 3859 euthanasia deaths and 192 assisted suicide deaths that year.
The Dutch statistics indicate that there were 3695 reported euthanasia deaths in 2011. Since 23% of all euthanasia deaths are not reported in the Netherlands, we can estimate that in 2011, the actual number of euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands was more likely (3695 + 23%) 4544.
It is important to recognize that the number of reported euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands has increased by 18% in 2011, 19% in 2010 and 13% in 2009.
There were 1923 reported euthanasia deaths in 2006.
There were 2120 reported euthanasia deaths in 2007.
There were 2331 reported euthanasia deaths in 2008.
There were 2636 reported euthanasia deaths in 2009.
There were 3136 reported euthanasia deaths in 2010.
There were 3695 reported euthanasia deaths in 2011.
The rate of deep-continuous sedation has also risen significantly in the Netherlands.
The 2001 euthanasia report indicates that about 5.6% of all deaths in the Netherlands were related to deep-continuous sedation. The 2005 euthanasia report indicates that about 8.2% of all deaths in the Netherlands were related to deep-continuous sedation. The 2010 euthanasia report indicates that about 12.3% of all euthanasia deaths are related to deep-continuous sedation.
The rate of deep-continuous sedation has more than doubled in the Netherlands since 2001 and has risen by 50% since 2005.
There is a growing concern about the abuse of the terminal sedation guidelines in the Netherlands. How often are deaths by deep-continuous sedation actually euthanasia?
Considering the growth in the use of terminal sedation for people who were not otherwise dying (slow euthanasia) and the number of unreported euthanasia deaths, one must conclude that abuses are occurring in the
On March 1, 2012; the euthanasia lobby in the
Netherlands launched six mobile euthanasia teams. The NVVE, euthanasia lobby in the Netherlands, announced that they anticipate that the mobile euthanasia teams will carry-out 1000 euthanasia deaths per year.
The mobile euthanasia teams plan to fill unmet demand for euthanasia for people with chronic depression (mental pain), people with disabilities, people with dementia/ Alzheimer, loneliness, and those whose request for euthanasia is declined by their physician. In 2010, 45% of all euthanasia requests resulted in death by euthanasia.
Legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide is not safe and the safeguards that are devised to control euthanasia only protect the doctor and not those who die by euthanasia.
I wonder why there are no prosecutions for the deaths without request or the unreported euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands?