Doctor Euthanizes Patient With Dementia, Secretly Put Drugs in Her Coffee

International   |   Alex Schadenberg   |   Jan 30, 2017   |   4:25PM   |   Amsterdam, Netherlands

A Netherlands Regional euthanasia Review Committee has decided that a forced euthanasia done on a woman with dementia, where the doctor sedated the woman by secretly putting the drugs in her coffee, was done in “good faith.” The committee chair is also urging that the case be reviewed by the court, not to punish the doctor, but to set a precedent concerning these acts

Guilia Crouch stated in her report for the Mail online that:

The doctor secretly placed a soporific in her coffee to calm her, and then had started to give her a lethal injection.

Yet while injecting the woman she woke up, and fought the doctor. The paperwork showed that the only way the doctor could complete the injection was by getting family members to help restrain her.

It (the paperwork) also revealed that the patient said several times ‘I don’t want to die’ in the days before she was put to death, and that the doctor had not spoken to her about what was planned because she did not want to cause unnecessary extra distress. She also did not tell her about what was in her coffee as it was also likely to cause further disruptions to the planned euthanasia process.

The Review Committee concluded that the doctor ‘has crossed the line’ by giving her the first sleeping medicine, and also should have stopped when the woman resisted.

Janene Pieters reporting for The Netherlands Times stated:

The review committee determined that the woman’s declaration in her will did not clearly state that she wanted to be euthanized after being admitted to a nursing home. The words “when I myself find it the right time” does not take into account a situation in which the woman was no longer mentally competent. The committee can understand how the doctor read it as a well-considered wish, but still feels that it was too broad an interpretation.

The committee also concluded that the doctor “crossed a line” by giving the woman the first dose of sedative secretly – hidden in a cup of coffee. And that the doctor should have stopped at the woman’s movements at the end. Even though it is possible that the movements were purely physical reactions, it can not be certain.

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Jacob Kohnstamm, who is the chair of the Regional euthanasia Review Committee, wants the case brought to court to create a precedent to enable other doctors to lethally inject people with dementia, without consent, and without fear of legal repercussions. According to the article in the Mail online:

Kohnstamm said he was in favour of a trial: ‘Not to punish the doctor, who acted in good faith and did what she had to do, but to get judicial clarity over what powers a doctor has when it comes to the euthanasia of patients suffering from severe dementia.’

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So lets, examine the facts surrounding this death by lethal injection:

  • The woman had dementia and was incapable of asking for euthanasia,
  • The declaration in her will was not clear,
  • She stated several times that she did not want to die,
  • She was not informed that a sedative was put in her coffee,
  • Her family was required to hold her down so the doctor could lethally inject her.
  • The Regional Review Committee found that it was done in “good faith.”
  • The Regional Review Committee wants the court hear the case an to set a precedent approving the lethal injection of people with dementia, who cannot consent.

As I have said in the past, euthanasia is out-of-control in the Netherlands. Note: Alex Schadenberg is the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and you can read his blog here. Image is a file photo.