Euthanasia is targeting people in the Netherlands like never before and the number of people killed via euthanasia has doubled over the last 10 years. A new report indicates Dutch euthanasia deaths jumped 13 percent last year as 4,188 people died.
The report also indicated the mentally disabled and psychological patients are being targeted — with 42 people with dementia and 13 with psychiatric problems dying via euthanasia.
Voluntary euthanasia or physician assisted suicide, where a doctor is present while a patient kills themselves, usually by drinking a strong barbiturate potion, has been legal in the Netherlands since 2002.
Requests have risen steadily since 2003 when 1,626 people applied for medically administered euthanasia, in most cases by a lethal injection, or assisted suicide.
As previously controversial “mercy killings” have become socially and medically acceptable, the number of cases, the vast majority of medical euthanasia, have more than doubled over the decade to 2012.
One explanation for the steep rise of Dutch cases is the introduction last year of mobile euthanasia units allowing patients to be killed by voluntary lethal injection when family doctors refused.
Around 80 per cent of people who request euthanasia die at home and are killed by doctors on the grounds that they are suffering unbearable pain and are making an informed choice. The opinion of a second doctor is also required.
Those suffering from nervous system disorders were in second place, 257, followed by the euthanasia of 156 people suffering from cardiovascular disease.
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Forty two people with dementia and 13 patients suffering severe psychiatric problems were medically killed in cases that are rarer and still generate concern over the competence of individuals to request death.
The report details the case of one patient with dementia who was supposedly in a “lucid moment” long enough to tell her doctor, “Yes, I want euthanasia.”