Tag Archives: Belgium

German court rules assisted suicide ban violates citizens’ rights to “determine their own death”

Slippery slope.

From EuroNews: Germany’s highest court has ruled a ban on assisted suicide violates a citizen’s right to determine their own death.

Federal Constitutional Court Judge Andreas Vosskuhle said in a ruling that a 2015 law — which banned assisted suicide when being conducted on a “business basis” — was unconstitutional.

It allowed assisted suicide for “altruistic motives”, but anyone offering the service on a business basis faced up to three years in prison.

While passively helping a patient — such as providing deadly medication for them to take themselves — has been a legal grey area in the country, actively helping — physically helping them take their life — is banned.

The issue is a particularly sensitive topic in Germany: the last time euthanasia was part of public policy it was used by the Nazis to kill more than 200,000 people with physical and mental disabilities.

The 2015 law seeking to narrow the regulations was a middle-of-the-road proposal that received cross-party support. The four proposals discussed at that time ranged from fully permitting the practice so long as it is not for profit to a near-complete ban.

It will now be up to the government whether to re-open the debate to work on a measure in line with the court’s ruling.

The topic of euthanasia is being debated in other European countries, with Spain’s politicians currently grappling over a new bill which would legalise the practice in the circumstance where a patient suffers unbearable physical or psychological pain, with no hope of improvement.

Last week Portugal moved a step closer to legalising euthanasia, with a bill passing through parliament to the next phase.

See also:

Belgium’s culture of death: Doctor Kills Depressed Woman in Euthanasia, Doesn’t Tell Family Until Next Day
Outrage as ‘Dr. Death’ offers euthanasia tours of ‘inspiring’ Auschwitz
Five people killed EVERY DAY by assisted suicide in Belgium as euthanasia cases soar by 25 per cent in last year alone

DCG

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Sunday Funny: March of the Belgian Cadets

Belgium is a founding member of both the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance of which the United States is also a member. In fact, NATO’s headquarters are in Brussels, the capital of Belgium. That means America is obliged by treaty to defend Belgium.

Ponder that, as you watch the video below of a group of cadets of the Belgium Defense Forces.

From “an open letter to the esteemed Belgian Defence Forces,” published on Military Times, an independent source of news and information for U.S. service members and their families:

[Y]our cadets of the Belgian Defence Forces…spent the week commemorating noteworthy first steps — which appeared to be their first … ever.

For that is the terrifying display the rest of the world bore witness to this week during the broadcast of a wonderful Belgian parade, one in which your group of cadets managed to stumble their way through…. One must assume the only reason for including this group of cadets was due to the nation of Belgium literally running out of human beings to fill the void in this section of the parade….

And the leader? He somehow managed to fall out of step … with himself…. If any training, at all, occurred leading up to this abomination, everyone involved is to be condemned for a job never done.

~Eowyn

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Improper legal killing? Belgium launches first criminal investigation of euthanasia case

Try and process this statement: “Among Belgians euthanised for mental health reasons, the most common conditions are depression, personality disorder and Asperger’s.”

From The Guardian: Belgian officials are investigating whether doctors improperly euthanised a woman with autism, the first criminal investigation in a euthanasia case since the practice was legalised in 2002.

Three doctors from East Flanders are being investigated on suspicion of having “poisoned” Tine Nys in 2010. The 38-year-old had been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism, two months before she died in an apparently legal killing by a doctor.

Belgium is one of two countries, along with the Netherlands, where euthanasia of people for psychiatric reasons is allowed if they can prove they have “unbearable and untreatable” suffering.

Among Belgians euthanised for mental health reasons, the most common conditions are depression, personality disorder and Asperger’s. Many experts – in Belgium and beyond– dispute whether autism should be considered a valid reason to be killed.

Last year, the Associated Press reported that after Nys’ family filed a criminal complaint, alleging numerous “irregularities” in her death, her doctors attempted to block the investigation.

“We must try to stop these people,” wrote Dr. Lieve Thienpont, the psychiatrist who approved Nys’ request to die – and one of the doctors now facing charges. “It is a seriously dysfunctional, wounded, traumatised family with very little empathy and respect for others,” the message read.

Sophie Nys, one of Tine’s sisters, told the AP that the doctor who performed the euthanasia asked her parents to hold the needle in place while he administered the fatal injection, among other fumbling efforts. Afterwards, the doctor asked the family to use a stethoscope to confirm that Tine’s heart had stopped.

Belgium’s chamber of indictment “presumes that there are sufficient indications in this particular case” and the doctors involved have been referred to the court of assize in Ghent. They will now face trial “due to poisoning”, said Francis Clarysse, a Ghent prosecutor.

Concerns have previously been raised about whether Thienpont, Nys’ psychiatrist, too easily approved euthanasia requests from patients with mental illness.

The AP previously published documents revealing a rift between Thienpont and Dr. Wim Distelmans, who heads Belgium’s euthanasia review commission. Distelmans voiced fears that Thienpont and colleagues may have failed to meet certain legal requirements in some euthanasia cases – and wrote that he would no longer accept referred patients from Thienpont.

In the 15 years since doctors were granted the right to legally kill patients, more than 10,000 people have been euthanised. Only one case has previously been referred to prosecutors; that case was later dropped.

See also:

h/t Red State

DCG

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Belgium's culture of death: Thousands are euthanized without their consent

Mon, 15 Jun 2015 12:25:27 +0000

eowyn2

13 years ago, in 2002, Belgium passed a law making “physician-assisted suicide” lawful, that is, instead of saving lives, it is part of a medical doctor’s job to end a patient’s life.

Since then, the country has acquired the decidedly dubious reputation of having the most liberal euthanasia law in the world. And even though Belgians are predominantly Roman Catholic, surveys show overwhelming support for the right to die by euthanasia.

Since the law’s passage, the number of Belgians choosing euthanasia has steadily risen each year, with more than 1,800 dying this way in 2013 – that’s an average of about 5 people a day. In 2014, Belgium made headlines when it became the first country in the world to extend euthanasia to children with disabilities and terminal illnesses.

Now comes the even more horrifying news that thousands of Belgians are being euthanized against their will. 

killer doctor

Sarah Zagorski reports for LifeNews, June 12, 2015, citing the Daily Mail, that a new study published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, reveals that around one in every 60 patient deaths in Belgium involved someone who didn’t want to die, i.e., they were euthanized against their will. Of those thousands of Belgians who had been murdered by their physicians:

  • Half were over the age of 80.
  • Two-thirds were not suffering from a terminal disease.

Doctors didn’t inform the patient’s family because they believed medical staff should make the decision.

The author of the study, Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor of Hull University, said, “The decision as to which life is no longer worth living is not in the hands of the patient but in the hands of the doctor. It should also be noted that deliberately ending the lives of patients without their request is taking place in Belgium more than in all other countries that document such practices, including the Netherlands. It is worrying that some physicians take upon themselves the responsibility to deliberately shorten patients’ lives without a clear indication from the patients that this is what they would want. The Belgian population should be aware of the present situation and know that if their lives may come to the point where physicians think they are not worth living, in the absence of specific living wills advising physicians what to do then, they might be put to death.

Alex Schadenberg from the Euthanasia Prevention Coaction said: “The Belgian Socialist government is adamant that the euthanasia law needs to extend to minors and people with dementia even though there are significant examples of how the current law is being abused and the bracket creep of acceptable reasons for euthanasia continues to grow. The current practice of euthanasia in Belgium appears to have become an easy way to cover-up medical errors.”

See also “Euthanasia on the rise in America due to lucrative organ-harvesting“.

~Éowyn

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Meet Belgium's new Minister of Health!

Among several dictionary definitions of the word “irony” are these:

5. an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.
6. the incongruity of this.

Two days ago, on Oct. 11, 2014, at the Royal Palace in Brussels, Maggie De Block was sworn in as Belgium’s new Minister of Social Affairs and Health.

Maggie de Block, Health Minister

Maggie de Block, Health Minister


Oh, the irony. The irony.
Belgium’s new center-right government took office on Saturday, promising to raise the retirement age and slash costs by about 8 billion euros ($10 billion) to balance the national budget by 2018 and cut the country’s debt. (Source: Reuters)
52-year-old De Block entered politics in 1999 when she was elected a member of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives for the electoral district Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde.
She had studied medicine at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and was a general practitioner for 25 years.
Double the irony!
H/t RebelMouse
~Eowyn

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Belgium's culture of death: Doctor Kills Depressed Woman in Euthanasia, Doesn’t Tell Family Until Next Day

angel
LifeSiteNews: Alliance Defending Freedom filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights Wednesday on behalf of Tom Mortier, who is challenging Belgium’s laws that allow euthanasia. Mortier’s mother was put to death by a doctor for “untreatable depression” even though she was not terminally ill. Mortier did not find out what had happened until he received a telephone call the day after her death.

“The government has an obligation to protect life, not assist in promoting death,” said ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Robert Clarke. “A person can claim that she should be able to do whatever she pleases, but that does not override the government’s responsibility to protect the weak and vulnerable. We are encouraging the European Court to uphold this principle, which is completely consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights.”

godelieva2Oncologist Wim Distelmans killed Godelieva De Troyer, a Belgium citizen who was not terminally ill, because of “untreatable depression” in April 2012 after receiving consent from three other physicians who had no previous involvement with her care. De Troyer’s doctor of more than 20 years had denied her request to be euthanized in September 2011, but after a 2,500 EUR donation to Life End Information Forum, an organization co-founded by Distelmans, he carried out her request to die because of the depression. The donation gives rise to an apparent conflict of interest.
No one contacted Mortier before his mother’s death despite the fact that he says her depression was not only largely the result of a break-up with a man, but also due to her feelings of distance from her family.
Distelmans has no psychiatric qualifications, and none of the doctors involved had any enduring doctor-patient relationship with De Troyer. In addition, the commission the government established to investigate any failure to observe the euthanasia law has been led, since its creation, by Distelmans. Despite evidence of widespread abuse of the law, the commission has never referred a case to the prosecutor.
As the ADF application explains, “The institutions of the Council of Europe have shown consistent opposition to the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia…. [T]he only positive duty on a State is the positive duty to protect life.”
The application argues that Belgium’s law, which now allows children to be killed as well, has gone too far:

“the balance has shifted unacceptably in favour of personal autonomy at the expense of the important public interest and a State’s obligation under Article 2 (the right to life).”

“People suffering from depression need compassion and love, not a prescription for death,” said ADF Senior Counsel Roger Kiska. “The state has a duty to put the necessary safeguards in place so that suffering patients receive adequate care from doctors and an opportunity to consult with family members.”

ADF is also involved at the ECHR in defending Switzerland’s denial of suicide drugs to a woman who does not suffer from any fatal disease. That case, Gross v. Switzerland, is very similar to a previous case, Haas v. Switzerland, in which the ECHR in 2011 unanimously rejected the claim that Switzerland had an obligation to assist individuals in committing suicide.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organisation that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
See also:

DCG

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Belgian Doctor Refuses to Treat Elderly Jewish Woman

no jews
Israel National News: A Flemish doctor who manned a medical hotline Wednesday night refused to provide help to a 90-year-old Jewish woman, Bertha Klein, who had suffered a fractured rib. “I’m not coming!” he said. “Send her to Gaza for a few hours, and she will not feel the pain anymore,” was the reply.
The doctor confirmed the exchange, and said that he had spoken the way he did out of “emotional frenzy.” The Health Ministry is investigating the matter, according to Joods Actueel (Jewish News).
Klein’s son had been the one to call the hotline. His mother was in agonizing pain after she had suffered a fractured rib. The doctor reportedly knew very quickly that the patient was Jewish: her name, her son’s accent and her address in Antwerp, Belgium’s second-largest Jewish commmunity, betrayed all that.
Shocked by the doctor’s response, the family phoned a friend, Samuel Markowitz, who is an alderman of the Antwerp district council and a volunteer paramedic. Markowitz called the hotline himself and confronted the doctor over his statements.
The doctor admitted the facts and blamed “emotional frenzy.” Meanwhile, the grandson of the 90-year-old woman, Hershy Taffel, filed a complaint with the police for racism and xenophobia.
Taffel says  his grandmother burst into tears. “This reminds me of what we underwent in Europe 70 years ago, I never thought that day would ever be repeated,” she said.
Michael Freilich, editor of Joods Actueel, is concerned that the Middle East conflict is being imported into Belgium.
“This is yet another incident in a row of similar events that took place in a short period of time,” he elabotared. A shop in Antwerp refused to serve a woman because she was Jewish, a cafe in Liege has a sign hung with the message ‘dogs welcome, Jews are not’, in Brussels slogans like ‘Death to the Jews’ were chanted during a demonstration and on Facebook, we see calls of hatred against the Jewish people every day.”
Freilich went on to tell his readers: “Let me repeat for the umpteenth time: Belgian Jews are NOT Israelis! They merely have an emotional bond with that country but have no influence on the conflict. They do not vote in Israel, do not go to the army and pay no taxes there.
He added: “Any form of racism and anti-Semitism must be condemned by politicians vigorously. It’s long overdue, I think.”
DCG

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Five people killed EVERY DAY by assisted suicide in Belgium as euthanasia cases soar by 25 per cent in last year alone

angel

Daily Mail: Doctors in Belgium are killing an average of five people every day by euthanasia, new figures have revealed. The statistics also show a huge 27 percent surge in the number of euthanasia cases in the last year alone.

The soaring number of deaths will inevitably fuel fears that euthanasia is out of control in Belgium, a country which only months ago became the first in world to allow doctors to kill terminally ill children.

The figures, published in Sudpresse, Belgium’s leading French-speaking newspaper, showed that 1,816 cases of euthanasia were reported in 2013 compared to 1,432 in 2012, an overall increase of 26.8 percent.

“You could say that currently there are 150 cases of euthanasia per month in Belgium or, even more telling, five people euthanized in a day,” the newspaper said.

Of the total number of cases in 2013, 51.7 percent were male patients and 48.3 percent were female.

Elderly people aged between 70 and 90 years made up just over half (53.5 percent) of the total. Those aged between 60 and 70 years represented 21 percent and those aged over 90 years seven percent. The under-60s accounted for just 15 percent of the total of number of cases.

In 2003 Belgium was the second country in the world to legalize euthanasia after Holland liberalized the law a year earlier, becoming the first country since Nazi Germany to permit the practice.

Over the past decade the numbers of Belgians dying by euthanasia has crept up incrementally.

There was a 25 percent increase in the number of euthanasia deaths from 2011 to 2012, soaring from 1,133 to 1,432, a figure representing about two percent of all deaths in the country.

In February Belgium extended euthanasia to children who are terminally-ill and in a state of unrelieved suffering. They must also be judged to have “capacity of discernment”, affirmed by a psychologist, and the consent of their parents before then can die by injection.

Anti-euthanasia campaigners have argued that such safeguards have consistently proved by be meaningless. They say that besides patients who are gravely ill, euthanasia is used increasingly on people with depression or non-terminal conditions.

Those killed include deaf twins Marc and Eddy Verbessem, 45, who were granted their with to die in December 2012 after they learned they would likely to become blind.

Last year, Nancy Verhelst, 44, a transsexual, was also killed by euthanasia after doctors botched her sex change operation, leaving her with physical deformities she felt made her look like a “monster”.

Disability rights campaigner Nikki Kenward of the UK-based Distant Voices pressure group said the figures demonstrated the difficulties in regulating euthanasia. She said that once a country legalized assisted suicide or euthanasia people were inevitably killed in greater numbers than ever envisioned.

The figures should serve as a warning to the Parliament not to change the law on homicide to allow even assisted suicide, she said. “As the numbers of people dying from euthanasia in Belgium grow, that slippery slope comes into vision,” said Mrs. Kenward.

“I am vulnerable,” said Mrs. Kenward, who has been in a wheelchair since the 1990s when she developed Guillain Barre syndrome. “I’m afraid of becoming another statistic, another faceless victim,” she said, adding: “We are told that safeguards will protest us from abuses. They certainly do not protect the elderly in Belgium.

DCG

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Belgium considering new euthanasia law FOR KIDS

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 10:30:13 +0000

dcgere

angel

KOMO: Should children have the right to ask for their own deaths?

In Belgium, where euthanasia is now legal for people over the age of 18, the government is considering extending it to children – something that no other country has done. The same bill would offer the right to die to adults with early dementia.

Advocates argue that euthanasia for children, with the consent of their parents, is necessary to give families an option in a desperately painful situation. But opponents have questioned whether children can reasonably decide to end their own lives.

Belgium is already a euthanasia pioneer; it legalized the practice for adults in 2002. In the last decade, the number of reported cases per year has risen from 235 deaths in 2003 to 1,432 in 2012, the last year for which statistics are available. Doctors typically give patients a powerful sedative before injecting another drug to stop their heart.

Only a few countries have legalized euthanasia or anything approaching it. In the Netherlands, euthanasia is legal under specific circumstances and for children over the age of 12 with parental consent (there is an understanding that infants, too, can be euthanized, and that doctors will not be prosecuted if they act appropriately). Elsewhere in Europe, euthanasia is only legal in Luxembourg. Assisted suicide, where doctors help a patient to die but do not actively kill them, is allowed in Switzerland.

In the U.S., the state of Oregon also grants assisted suicide requests for residents aged 18 or over with a terminal illness.

In Belgium, the ruling Socialist party has proposed the bill expanding the right of euthanasia. The Christian Democratic Flemish party vowed to oppose the legislation and to challenge it in the European Court of Human Rights if it passes. A final decision must be approved by Parliament and could take months.

In the meantime, the Senate has heard testimony on both sides of the issue.

“It is strange that minors are considered legally incompetent in key areas, such as getting married, but might (be able) to decide to die,” Catholic Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard testified.

Leonard said alternatives like palliative sedation make euthanasia unnecessary – and relieves doctors of the burden of having to kill patients. In palliative sedation, patients are sedated and life-sustaining support is withdrawn so they starve to death; the process can take days.

But the debate has extended to medical ethicists and professionals far from Belgium. Charles Foster, who teaches medical law and ethics at Oxford University, believes children couldn’t possibly have the capacity to make an informed decision about euthanasia since even adults struggle with the concept.

“It often happens that when people get into the circumstances they had so feared earlier, they manage to cling on all the more,” he said. “Children, like everyone else, may not be able to anticipate how much they will value their lives if they were not killed.”

There are others, though, who argue that because Belgium has already approved euthanasia for adults, it is unjust to deny it to children.

“The principle of euthanasia for children sounds shocking at first, but it’s motivated by compassion and protection,” said John Harris, a professor of bioethics at the University of Manchester. “It’s unfair to provide euthanasia differentially to some citizens and not to others (children) if the need is equal.”

And Dr. Gerlant van Berlaer, a pediatric oncologist at the Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussels hospital, says the changes would legalize what is already happening informally. He said cases of euthanasia in children are rare and estimates about 10 to 100 cases in Belgium every year might qualify.

“Children have different ways of asking for things but they face the same questions as adults when they’re terminally sick,” van Berlaer said. “Sometimes it’s a sister who tells us her brother doesn’t want to go back to the hospital and is asking for a solution,” he said. “Today if these families find themselves (in that situation), we’re not able to help them, except in dark and questionable ways.”

The change in the law regarding people with dementia is also controversial.

People now can make a written declaration they wish to be euthanized if their health deteriorates, but the request is only valid for five years and they must be in an irreversible coma. The new proposal would abolish the time limit and the requirement the patient be in a coma, making it possible for someone who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to be put to death years later in the future.

In the Netherlands, guidelines allow doctors to euthanize dementia patients on this basis if they believe the person is experiencing “unbearable suffering,” but few are done in practice.

Dr. Patrick Cras, a neurologist at the University of Antwerp, said people with dementia often change their minds about wanting to die.

“They may turn into different people and may not have the same feelings about wanting to die as when they were fully competent,” he said. “I don’t see myself killing another person if he or she isn’t really aware of exactly what’s happening simply on the basis of a previous written request (to have euthanasia). I haven’t fully made up my mind but I think this is going too far.”

Penney Lewis, a professor and medical law expert at King’s College London, agreed that carrying out euthanasia requests on people with dementia once they start to worsen could be legally questionable.

“But if you don’t let people make decisions that will be respected in the future, including euthanasia, what you do is encourage people to take their own life while they have the capacity or to seek euthanasia much earlier,” she said.

In the past year, several cases of Belgians who weren’t terminally ill but were euthanized – including a pair of 43-year-old deaf twins who were going blind and a patient in a botched sex change operation – have raised concerns the country is becoming too willing to euthanize its citizens. The newest proposals have raised eyebrows even further.

“People elsewhere in Europe are focused on assisted dying for the terminally ill and they are running away from what’s happening in Belgium,” Lewis said. “If the Belgian statutes go ahead, this will be a key boundary that is crossed.”

I have no words…

DCG

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Breaking: Jihadist Rampage in Belgium


Via bbc.co.uk:
Deadly attack rocks central Liege in Belgium 
A gun and grenade attack in the centre of the Belgian city of Liege has killed at least two people and wounded 47 including a toddler, media say.
Witnesses say a man in his 40s threw grenades at a bus stop in Place Saint Lambert, a busy square. At least two other men are thought to be involved.
Reports say one of the attackers is among the dead. Local media say another has been detained, while a third is involved in a stand-off with police.
It is not clear who the attackers are.
There are reports of a fourth man escaping the scene.
TV images showed blood splattered across the cobblestones.
Medical staff are said to be attending to some of the injured in the courthouse.
Seven of them are in a serious condition, and doctors at a city hospital are trying to save the life of an 18-month-old boy injured in the attack.
Roads into the centre of the city have been sealed off. Police helicopters are hovering overhead and explosives experts are on their way to the square.
A TV report said many shops in the city centre had closed their doors, with customers trapped inside.
Place Saint Lambert is a busy intersection, served by hundreds of buses daily. It hosts an annual Christmas market which attracts some 1.5 million visitors a year.
-End
When I saw the above link pop up on Drudge a little while ago, I did not even have to click on it to know that members of the “peaceful” religion of Islam were involved.
 -Dave
(h/t: Drudge)

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