“Euthanasia is a social construct, not health care..." Dr Greg Parker, - Director Metro South Palliative Care Services
Legalising euthanasia corrupts the role of doctor by changing it from healer to killer. The devastation it would cause to medicine is unfathomable and far-reaching.
Euthanasia it is social construct built upon a fear of suffering, extreme libertarian thinking and economic rationalism - which has the crude premise: it’s cheaper to give a sick, elderly or disabled person a lethal injection or two poisonous pills than to pay for months or years of support. Euthanasia’s origins are clearly sinister and evil...
The euthanasia lobby builds its case by showcasing agonising death stories, and the media laps it up. What the media never showcases are the thousands of Queenslanders who, although having terminal illness, experience peaceful and painless deaths with good palliative support. Nor does the media adequately address the major palliative care deficit in Queensland which is most experienced in the regions. Palliative care specialist Professor Philip Good recently stated on ABC radio that Queensland should have the equivalent of two palliative specialists for every 100,000 people, but we have only 0.7.
And what we almost never heard about is growing catalogue of horrendous euthanasia stories from abroad, here are just a few:
- When assisted suicide was legalised in Belgium and the Netherlands, they were meant for people in unbearable suffering from terminal illnesses like cancer, and euthanasia was to be provided with careful oversight plus prolonged close consultation between patient and doctor. However, doctors have now been killing patients they have hardly known or examined, many of whom have mental health issues like depression, anorexia or autism/Aspergers, not terminal illnesses. In 2012, 42 people with dementia and 13 with psychiatric issues were medically terminated in the Netherlands. A right-to-die group organised 30 mobile teams to make house calls to people who wanted to die but whose family doctors were unwilling to participate. One of the people killed by this team was a 63-year-old man with no family or friends, who was afraid of a lonely life after retirement. Another was a 54-year-old woman with a pathological fear of germs, who found her obsession with cleanliness debilitating.
- A Belgian was euthanised (i.e. killed) in 2013 after she became suicidal, claiming a sex change operation to turn her into a man had turned her into a “monster”.
- On 19 April 2012, 64-year-old retired schoolteacher Godelieva De Troyer received a lethal injection at a Brussels hospital. She had no incurable illness or chronic pain. It was simply chronic depression. Her family was not informed in advance; her son Tom Mortier only discovered this when he was asked to deal with paperwork the following day.
- Netherlands: A 74-year-old woman who was suffering dementia grew violent in a nursing home away from her family. Her gerontologist noted: “Only when her family was with her did the patient find life acceptable.” A few weeks after she entered the home, her gerontologist and a consulting psychiatrist agreed that she was suffering intolerably and met the requirements for euthanasia, although she had never submitted a formal request to die. Her husband and daughter agreed.
- 29-year-old Dutchwoman Aurelia Brouwers, who suffered intense depression since she was 12, coupled with repeated self-harm, anxiety, psychoses and hearing voices, was allowed to be euthanised at the Levenseindekliniek. She had been in prison (for arson) for over 2 years without therapy.
- A man in his 30s whose only diagnosis was autism became one of 110 people to be euthanized for mental disorders in the Netherlands between 2011 and 2014.
- In Belgium, 38-year-old Tine Nys was killed just for having Aspergers. The doctor fumbled with the needle and asked her parents to help hold it in place while he administered the lethal injection. He then asked them to use a stethoscope to confirm their daughter's heart had stopped.
- In one 2017 Belgian case, a man in late middle-age with dementia signed an advanced directive for euthanasia when his condition became worse. His doctor recounted: “As his mind faltered, however, so did his resolve – which did not please his wife, who became an evangelist for her husband’s death. He must have changed his mind 20 times. I saw the pressure she was applying.” The doctor tried to protect her patient, but while she was away, her colleague euthanised him.