Catholic Nursing Home Fined for Refusing to Kill a Patient

International   |   Emily Derois   |   Jul 25, 2016   |   11:27AM   |   Washington, DC

Judges recently fined a Catholic nursing home in Belgium after it refused to euthanize a patient, WND reported.

This case occurred in Diest, Belgium when 74-year-old patient Mariette Buntjens agreed with her doctor that she should be euthanized by a lethal injection because she was suffering from lung cancer. The St. Augustine rest home, where Buntjens was staying, refused to euthanize her because of its Catholic mission, according to the report. Because of this decision, Buntjens was moved to a private address, where she soon died.

The Herald reported that her family sued the Catholic rest home for causing “unnecessary mental and physical suffering” to Buntjens.

The report continued with a prediction of how this case will affect other Catholic medical facilities:

A civil court in Louvain upheld the complaint and fined the home 3,000 (euros) and ordered it to pay compensation of 1,000 (euros) to each of Mrs. Buntjens’ three adult children.

The judgment could spell the closure of scores of Catholic-run nursing and care homes across Belgium because the church has stated explicitly that it will not permit euthanasia “under any circumstances.”

Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2003. According to the report, in 2015 there were 2,021 deaths of the mentally ill or disabled by euthanasia. The new case will undoubtedly not only effect Catholic facilities, but also the regard for the sanctity of human life in Belgium.

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Baroness Finlay, a professor of palliative medicine at Cardiff University in the UK, recently warned against legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in England and other parts of the world, explaining that wherever these procedures have been accepted, deaths have drastically increased.

Finlay pointed to 2014 and 2015 statistics in Oregon, where doctor-prescribed suicide is legal, showing that assisted suicide deaths rose by a staggering 80 percent. She also referred to statistics in the Netherlands, where euthanasia is legal, showing that one in 26 deaths in the country last year was by assisted suicide or euthanasia.

Member of British Parliament Robert Flello explained the dangers of legalized euthanasia: “If you look around the world, anywhere assisted suicide has been introduced there is a constant erosion of any safeguards that have been put in place. This a further leap down the slippery path warned about time and time again and it shows that those warnings were true.”

Euthanasia is a slippery slope. Once it is legalized, the doctor-patient relationship drastically alters, and healing the patient is no longer a priority for physicians. The ethics of doctors and other medical personnel who object to the killing of patients are no longer regarded, as is evident in Belgium.