Medical Researcher Proposes Removing Organs From Euthanasia Patients While They’re Still Alive

Bioethics   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 1, 2016   |   1:52PM   |   London, England

Like a horror story come true, a prominent medical researcher in Europe is advocating for the right to take organs from euthanasia patients before they die.

In an article for the Journal of Medical Ethics in March, researcher Jan Bollen pushed for doctors to be allowed to perform “heart-beating organ donation euthanasia,” The Daily Mail reports.

Euthanasia already is legal in Bollen’s native Holland, as well as a number of other European countries. Bollen argued that if euthanasia patients were allowed to give their permission for live organ donations, the fresh organs would improve the chances of successful transplants for other people.

He continued:

The dead donor rule states that donation should not cause or hasten death. Since a patient undergoing euthanasia has chosen to die, it is worth arguing that the no-touch time could be skipped, contributing to the quality of the transplanted organs.

It is even possible to extend this argument to a ‘heart-beating organ donation euthanasia’ where a patient is sedated, after which his organs are removed, causing death. Both options are currently legally not allowed.

A patient might be motivated to request euthanasia because this gives him the opportunity to donate organs. As long as all due diligence requirements are fulfilled, it should not be an obstacle if euthanasia and donation are not fully separated.

The proposal is sickening, but Bollen’s logic hardly seems different than the abortion activists in America who are arguing that abortion businesses should be able to harvest aborted babies’ body parts and give them to researchers. Bollen’s proposal treats human lives as mere commodities, and opens the doors to even more potential for coercion and abuse.

British MP Fiona Bruce called the proposal “shocking and chilling” in an interview with the Daily Mail.

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“The authors of the paper themselves confirm that the combination of euthanasia and organ donation could undermine doctors’ motivations and encourage them to look beyond just the well-being of their patient,” Bruce said. “What this paper reveals is yet another way in which vulnerable people – to whom we owe greatest support and protection – would be put under pressure to end their lives prematurely.”

People with mental illnesses especially could be vulnerable to such a proposal. Studies have found that people with mental health issues already are the ones most susceptible to euthanasia. Rather than be treated, these people could be persuaded to see organ donation euthanasia as a way they could end their suffering and contribute something meaningful to society.

The pressure on sick and disabled people to be euthanized already is strong in some European countries. In 2012, LifeNews reported that thousands of people in the Netherlands were being euthanized without their consent. In 2013, 650 babies died under Holland’s assisted suicide law because their parents or doctors deemed their suffering too difficult to bear, LifeNews reported.

In an article in the Daily Mail last year, a former euthanasia advocate warned that the European euthanasia laws are already out of control. Professor Theo Boer, who was a member of Euthanasia Review Committee in the Netherlands for nine years, recently changed his mind and now opposes euthanasia:

Professor Boer, who has reviewed 4,000 cases of euthanasia in his role as a regulator, told Parliament in the summer: ‘Don’t go there.’

Once a firm advocate of euthanasia, he said that he now the Dutch were ‘terribly wrong’ to think they could control it.

Writing in the Daily Mail, he said his country has witnessed an ‘explosive increase’ in the numbers of euthanasia deaths since 2007 and that he expected the number of such deaths this year to hit 6,000.

He was also gravely concerned at the extension of killing to new classes of people, including the demented and the depressed. ‘Some slopes truly are slippery,’ he said.

Allowing live organ donation among euthanasia patients will only extend these egregious human rights abuses.