Tag Archives: euthanasia

The full context of what Ben Carson said about Terri Schiavo

Ben Carson is in another controversy.
This time it’s over what he said about the tragic case of Terri Schiavo — the woman who died in 2005 from dehydration and starvation, after years of legal and political battles, and 15 years after slipping into a coma that doctors later called a persistent vegetative state.
Terri Schiavo
On Nov. 14, 2015, Adam C. Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Carson disagreed with then-Florida governor Jeb Bush’ attempt to bypass court rulings to force the re-insertion of feeding tubes for Schiavo, and referred to the Terri Schiavo case as “much ado about nothing.”
Consistent with his reaction in previous controversies, Carson insisted in an exclusive to LifeSiteNews on Nov. 18 that his remarks had been “taken out of context and misinterpreted.” He said: “When I used the term ‘much ado about nothing,’ my point was that the media tried to create the impression that the pro-life community was nutty and going way overboard with the support of the patient.”
Ben Johnson reports for LifeSiteNews, Nov. 19, 2015, that some pro-life leaders remained uneasy after hearing Carson’s explanation, and numerous LifeSiteNews readers said they wished they could know “the context” via a full recording of the exchange between the Tampa Bay Times (TBT) reporter and Ben Carson.
The same day, Nov. 19, TBT reporter Adam C. Smith posted a full transcript of the exchange with Carson during the Florida GOP’s Sunshine Summit conference:

Times: Dr. Carson, a few years ago when Gov. Bush was in charge of the state, he and the Florida Legislature moved to overturn the court decision on Terri Schiavo to force the feeding tube to be reinserted. What was your view of that as a doctor at the time?
Carson: Well, I said at the time, “We face those kinds of issues all the time and while I don’t believe in euthanasia, you have to recognize that people that are in that condition do have a series of medical problems that occur that will take them out. And your job is to keep them comfortable throughout that process and not to treat everything that comes up.”
Times: Did you think it was appropriate for Congress and the Legislature to
Carson: I don’t think it needed to get to that level. I think it was much ado about nothing. Those things are taken care of every single day just the way I described.

From the transcript above, by “much ado about nothing,” Carson clearly was referring to the efforts by then Florida governor Jeb Bush to intervene in the Schiavo case in order to save her life.
Schiavo’s brother, Bobby Schindler, who leads the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network and has praised Governor Bush’s handling of his sister’s case, said in a column that Carson’s followup comments are not reassuring. Schindler wrote in TBT‘s Buzz blog:

“I have deep respect for the accomplishments and commitment Dr. Carson has shown for life. But our family remains deeply troubled that in seeking to clarify his remarks, he has not unequivocally condemned what happened to my sister. In fact, his suggestion that simple ‘consensus’ among family members and health care providers could justify what happened to my sister is problematic. If I had agreed with Michael Schiavo (Terri’s husband) to starve and dehydrate my sister to death, would that have made it right?”

Orlando lawyer, John Stemberger, one of Florida’s most prominent social conservative activists, said Carson’s Schiavo comments have seriously damaged his appeal to many voters:

“I like Ben Carson a lot, but it is very disappointing that he does not even understand the basic pro-life principle that life begins at conception and ends at natural death. Terri was never in an active dying process. She was a severely disabled person who was killed through the brutal and painful process of starvation and dehydration. While Ben Carson may think this is ‘much to do about nothing,’ for most pro-life voters, it morally disqualifies him as a candidate. He is not thinking clearly about this matter and should reconsider his careless comments.”

Ben Carson has a painting in his home of himself in the foreground, with Jesus standing behind him.

Painting of young Carson and Jesus in hallway

Painting of young Carson and Jesus in hallway


Would our Lord Jesus Christ call Bush’s and others’ efforts to rescue Terri Schiavo “much ado about nothing”?
There are also important policy reasons for conservatives to be skeptical about Ben Carson, see Kelleigh Nelson’s article in NewsWithViews.
~Eowyn

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This Dying Woman Has Cancer Like Brittany Maynard, But Her Response is Priceless


LifeNews.com: Lizz Lovett could choose to take her own life. As an Oregon resident stricken with advanced stage kidney cancer, Lovett could lawfully utilize Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act to end her life prematurely through euthanasia.
This path, chosen by many, was recently launched to the media forefront by Brittany Maynard’s choice to end her own life last year when diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
When a surgical procedure last spring failed to remove Lovett’s cancer, the wife and mother of four chose a different path. “My life is not a story written by cancer – it’s written by love,” she said. With the help of friend Chris Stefanick, Lovett and her husband, Ryan, released a video documenting her courageous experience.
“I think [Stefanick] saw we still lived joyful lives, and that cancer didn’t define who we are,” Lovett said. “He said he was struck by the dramatic juxtaposition between our life – taking each day as a gift for us to give and receive – and Ms. Maynard’s, where she appeared to want control, by taking her own life.”
In the powerful video, Lovett shared why she is choosing to live despite her terminal diagnosis. “While many of us do not agree on how to think about euthanasia, I do think many of us can still be touched by beauty,” Lovett said. “And from that common experience, I hope we can reconnect how we think about the world and – perhaps – be persuaded to be open in a new way to life.”
Many members of Lovett’s family still hold to the “pro-choice” viewpoint that death by euthanasia is a lawful right. Lovett hopes her story can reach out to them and others faced with this difficult deliberation.
Suffering, Lovett argues, is not the problem. “I hope people will see there can be great joy and love in suffering, and great joy and love can come from it too,” Lovett said. “The stuff of life that has the most meaning – the opportunities for grace, the moments of littleness, humility and weakness that can be made into something so powerful through faith – are in danger of being snuffed out, removed before they even have a chance to occur.”
Lovett believes true dignity is found in living each and every day with love. Finding strength in her faith, Lovett continues to appreciate the time she has left with her family with new perspective.
“Life, indeed, is short,” she said. “And of course, everyone is going to die. I just have a better idea than most of when that may be. I think it is blessing in some ways to have that clarity as I live life each day.”
Her children – aged 2 to 7 – and her husband, remain consistent blessings. Lovett names Ryan as her “backbone of strength.” And Lovett is grateful for the outpouring of support that friends and community members have showered on her family.
“By ending my life prematurely, I lose the opportunity to love, and to be loved,” Lovett said. “We are all in each other’s lives for a reason. This is our journey, something we do together. When we feel the pressure – whether interiorly or from outsiders, subtly or otherwise – to just end it all because we are inconvenient, nothing could be further from the truth. It is through this suffering that our faith grows, our love grows, and the world is transformed, one relationship at a time.”
“I hope people will learn not to confuse an undignified circumstance with a lack of real dignity. I hope people will learn not to confuse pain with suffering. That people will see that what gives our lives greatest meaning is not feeling good, but being good: feeling good is not compatible with suffering, but being good is.
“And since the issue of euthanasia is not going away, I wanted my voice to be heard – to offer a truthful witness to what death with dignity really means.”
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Up to 650 babies euthanized every year in Holland

newborn crying
LifeSite News: As many as 650 babies are euthanized every year in the Netherlands because they are believed to be suffering or because a newborn’s imminent natural death is emotionally distressing for the parents, reports the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG).
In the organization’s policy statement “Medical decisions about the lives of newborns with severe abnormalities,” it explains that a lethal injection to euthanize a baby is ethically permitted if “the period of gasping and dying persists and the inevitable death is prolonged, in spite of good preparation, and it causes severe suffering for the parents.”
In 2002, the Netherlands became the first country in the world after the downfall of the Nazi regime to legalize euthanasia, but the law at the time restricted the practice to those 18 and older.

Eduard Verhagen

Eduard Verhagen


Since 2005 the country has not prosecuted doctors who euthanized children as long as the doctors acted in accordance with a set of medical guidelines called the Groningen Protocol, drafted by Dr. Eduard Verhagen in 2004.
Dr. Verhagen, who is one of the authors of the KNMG policy statement, explained to Volkskrant, a leading Dutch newspaper, why parental anguish is relevant to the decision to kill their child. He argued that doctors should spare parents the “abomination” of seeing their child die in distress, saying that it is part of good palliative care. “These children are gray and cold, they get blue lips and suddenly every few minutes they take extremely deep breaths. That’s very nasty to see, and it can go on for hours and sometimes days,” Verhagen said.
The KNMG policy statement said that out of the 175,000 babies born in the Netherlands each year, 650 are candidates for euthanasia because these children are likely to die anyway.
“These babies, despite very intensive treatment, will certainly die in the short term. They have a poor prognosis and a very bleak life perspective. They may not be dependent on intensive care but they face a life of serious and hopeless suffering. Doctors and parents face the exceedingly profound question of whether to start or continue treatment or even whether a good action may actually be a harm, in view of the suffering and disability that may result from the poor health of the child.”
Dr. Verhagen says he himself is unsure about whether a child who is “gasping” is actually suffering. “It may feel pain and discomfort, but suffering is a complex social and psychological phenomenon without scientifically validated criteria,” he said.
While Dr. Verhagen is well known for his continuing support of euthanasia in the Netherlands, other experts have changed their minds after seeing the escalation of administered death in their country.
Theo Boer

Theo Boer


Dutch ethicist Professor Theo Boer, who is on record for having said that a “good euthanasia law” would produce relatively low numbers of deaths, told the British House of Lords in 2014 that he now believes that the very existence of a euthanasia law turns assisted suicide from a last resort into a normal procedure.
“I was wrong – terribly wrong, in fact to have believed regulated euthanasia would work. I used to be a supporter of the Dutch law. But now, with 12 years of experience, I take a very different view,” he said.
“Euthanasia is now becoming so prevalent in the Netherlands, that it is on the way to becoming a default mode of dying for cancer patients,” he continued. “Assisted deaths have increased by about 15 per cent every year since 2008 and the number could hit a record 6,000 this year.  Campaigns for doctor-administered death to be made ever easier will not rest until a lethal pill is made available to anyone over 70 who wishes to die. Some slopes truly are slippery.”
Wesley J. Smith, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism, wrote in The National Review that the argument for euthanasia based on elimination of suffering due to terminal illness is a dangerous illusion.
Stop pretending assisted suicide is about terminal illness and admit it is much more about disability–which is why the disability rights movement remains so opposed as they are the primary targets.  It is about allowing killing as an acceptable answer to many causes of suffering, whether terminal or chronic disease, disability, mental illness, or existential despair,” he wrote.
“Indeed, as we have seen in Switzerland, Netherlands, and Belgium, once the fundamental premise [of euthanasia] is accepted, the sheer force of logic leads to permission for virtual death-on-demand.”
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Elderly couple to die together by assisted suicide even though they are not ill

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DailyMail: An elderly husband and wife have announced their plans to die in the world’s first “couple” euthanasia – despite neither of them being terminally ill. Instead the pair fear loneliness if the other one dies first from natural causes.
Identified only by their first names, Francis, 89, and Anne, 86, said they have the support of their three adult children who say they would be unable to care for either parent if they became widowed. The children have gone so far as to find a practitioner willing to carry out the double killings on the grounds that the couple’s mental anguish constituted the unbearable suffering needed to legally justify euthanasia.
The couple, from Brussels, are receiving regular medical treatment for age-related ailments. Francis has received treatment for prostate cancer for 20 years and is unable to spend a day without morphine and Anne is partially blind and almost totally deaf. They always go out shopping together because they are both scared that one day the other will not return home.
They decided that life in a care home was not an option because of  their fear they would end up bedridden without the strength to insist on euthanasia. They are also afraid that a good retirement home would cost more than their combined pensions and that they would have to dig into their savings to afford it.
They planned to commit suicide on February 3 next year, their 64th wedding anniversary, by placing plastic bags over their heads after taking an overdose of sleeping pills. “We want to go together because we both fear of the future,” said Francis. “It’s as simple as this: we are afraid of what lies ahead. Fear of being along and above all, fear of the conseque4nces of loneliness.”
He told Moustique, a Belgian online news service, that they eventually opted for euthanasia because they were too scared to attempt to commit suicide. “It takes courage to jump from the 20th floor and I am unable even if I wanted to do it,” said Francis. “It takes courage to hang, it takes courage to jump into the canal. But a doctor who makes you a shot and lets you gently fall asleep? It does not take courage.”
Their son, John Paul, 55, approached their doctor to request their euthanasia – which was legalized in Belgium in 2002 – but the doctor refused because there were no grounds for it. John Paul found another doctor willing to perform he killings in an unnamed hospital in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium in which 82% of euthanasia cases are performed.
Francis said he and Anne were grateful for the arrangement. “Without our son and our daughter, it would never have succeeded,” he said. “We are not sad, we are happy,” he continued. “When we were told we could leave life together smoothly we were on a little cloud. It was as if we had spent all that time in a tunnel and suddenly we came into the light again.”
The couple’s daughter has remarked that her parents are talking about their deaths as eagerly as if they were planning a holiday.
John Paul said the double euthanasia of his parents was the “best solution”.  “If one of them should die, who would remain would be so sad and totally dependent on us,” he said. “It would be impossible for us to come here every day, take care of our father or our mother.”
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“Who wants their son to live the life of a handicapped person? Maybe some families want this, but we don’t.”

AFP Photo

AFP Photo


France24: Parents of an extremely premature baby, currently in hospital in the city of Poitiers, have asked doctors to take their child off life support, or “passive euthanasia”. The doctors, however, say they need more time to evaluate the baby’s condition.
“We made this decision over a week ago,” said the baby’s mother, Mélanie, who was interviewed by France Info. “Who wants their son to live the life of a handicapped person? Maybe some families want this, but we don’t.”
The baby boy, named Titouan, was born on 31 August, four months before his due date. He weighed just under 2lb at birth and suffered from an intracerebral haemorrhage. For now, the doctors at the University Hospital Center of Poitiers (CHU) are unable to judge the extent of the damage to his brain.
“If we want to be able to fully understand the consequences [of the haemorrhage], we can’t rush this. We need a few weeks to evaluate his condition,” said Professor Fabrice Pierre, of the department of gynecology and obstetrics at Poitiers CHU, on French TV channel France Bleu. “Currently, we are not giving him intensive treatment; we are simply giving him life support to give us the time to do a proper evaluation.”
The baby’s parents, Mélanie and Aurélien, who are both in their 30s, say that doctors have already told them that their son will be paralysed on one side and that it is very likely he will be “severely disabled.”
They accuse the “inhumane” doctors of prolonging their son’s suffering.
Currently, euthanasia is illegal in France, though the 2005 law says that doctors are allowed to end or refrain from using treatments or care that result in the artificial prolongation of life, as long as the family agrees with the doctor’s decision. This is often referred to as “passive euthanasia,” or withholding treatments necessary to the continuation of life.
Importantly, the 2005 law also puts the decision in the hands of the doctors.
Faced with the repeated demands of Titouan’s parents, CHU’s neonatal unit sought out the advice of an ethics panel. They have yet to make a decision.
Earlier in the year, French President François Hollande announced that the government planned to enact a tightly-framed law allowing “medical assistance to end one’s life in dignity”.
Close to nine out of ten French people (89%) interviewed said they would be in favour of a law authorising euthanasia, according to a survey published in French daily Le Parisien at the end of June.
In situations when a person is too sick to make the decision themselves, 53% said the family should make the decision, 41% said a doctor should only 6% said a judge should make the decision.
In June, The Council of State, France’s top administrative court ruled in favour of so-called passive euthanasia in the high-profile case of Vincent Lambert, a tetraplegic patient who has been in a state of minimal consciousness for the past six years.
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Belgium's culture of death: Doctor Kills Depressed Woman in Euthanasia, Doesn’t Tell Family Until Next Day

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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.
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Outrage as ‘Dr. Death’ offers euthanasia tours of 'inspiring' Auschwitz

The evil doctor...

The evil doctor…


DailyMail: A controversial doctor who practices euthanasia has sparked outrage by organizing a tour to Auschwitz because he says the Nazi death damp is “inspiring”.
Belgian doctor Wim Distelmans, who has been dubbed “Dr. Death” for administering lethal injections, claims the visit will “clarify confusion” about dying as well as addressing the issue of euthanasia.
But Jewish and anti-euthanasia campaigners have reacted with horror, saying the trip, billed as a study tour, is “offensive and shocking”.
Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman said: “To make the notorious Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz the centre for a congenial study-trip is preposterous, if not obscene.”
“Whatever one’s views on euthanasia – and I am against it – it is abominable to describe Auschwitz as an “inspiring venue”. What went on at Auschwitz and the other death camps was mass murder of innocents – children, women, and men.”
Dr. Distelmans, who coordinates legalized killings from his Brussels clinic, has circulated a brochure advertising the three-day tour, including visits to the Auschwitz gas chambers and a “seminar” on issues including euthanasia, which is legal in Belgium.
sick2
He said in the leaflet that Auschwitz, in Poland, where a million people were put to death, was “the pre-eminent symbol of a degrading end of life”. He added: “This site is an inspiring venue for organizing a seminar and reflecting on these issue so that we can consider and clarify confusions.”
The row coincides with controversy over attempts by the Labour peer and former Chancellor Lord Falconer to legalize assisted suicide in Britain, which critics say could prove a “slippery slope” towards widespread killing of the sick.
Under Lord Falconer’s Bill, which receives it second reading in the Lords on Friday, doctors would be able to prescribe terminally ill patients a lethal dose of drugs, but the patient would have to take the drugs themselves.
Belgium has gone a step further by allowing doctors to legally administer a fatal dose. Dr. Distelmans, 60, gained notoriety after he was shown on TV ending the life of Nathan Verhelst, 44, a transsexual who asked to die after doctors botched his sex change surgery. Last year, he performed the world’s first double euthanasia for deaf twin brothers after they learned that they were going blind.
According to a leaflet advertising the tour, the visit to Auschwitz will take place on October 9, and will include a “scientific programme”, details of which are not yet finalized.
sick3
It says they will be accompanied by documentary make Lydia Chagoll, who was imprisoned in a Japanese camp during the Second World War, and participate in a “symposium”.
However, a spokesman for Auschwitz said the group was only booked in for a routine tour led by official guides who will relate the history of the camp and show them the key  areas including the gas chambers.
The group will also visit Birkenau to see where Jews were herded off the transportation trains and selected to go straight to the gas chamber or to become prisoners.
Liberal democrat peer Lord Carlile, the son of Polish Jewish immigrants, said: “This is shocking. It will cause offence to a lot of people throughout Europe, whichever side of the argument they are on. I am all in favour of people going to Auschwitz to find out the oppression that happened there, but to describe it as an inspiring setting suggests he is either mad, stupid, or incompetent.”
Anti-euthanasia campaigner Baroness Grey-Thompson, the British Paralympian, said: “To describe Auschwitz as ‘inspiring’ is very upsetting and very disturbing. It is appalling.”
Dr. Distelmans was unavailable for comment, but he earlier told the Jewish Chronicle he had been shocked by criticisms.  He was quoted as saying: “Firstly, this is not a symposium about euthanasia. It’s a study trip focusing on human rights, suffering, and palliative care. We will mention euthanasia, but that is not the main goal of the trip. The participants are all professionals working in palliative care. They work every day with patients who suffer pain and death.”
Our main goal is to visit the death camp where all these atrocities took place. Secondly, many of the participants were not in favour of a law on euthanasia, but changed their mind after the law came into action.”
“There is obviously no link between euthanasia in Belgium and what happened in Auschwitz. The Nazis used the term ‘euthanasia’ wrongly.”
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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

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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.

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Why two best friends, 40, with non-life threatening diseases want to take their own lives after being inspired by euthanasia talk

sick
DailyMail: Two best friends in their 40s, who look young and healthy, want to take their ownlives after hearing a talk from a controversial euthanasia physician – even though their own doctors are against it.
Pegie Liekens, 44, and Nancy Vermeulen, 43, from Belgium, have said that they cannot go on with their non-life threatening diseases so are turning to assisted suicide.
Liekens, a mother of one,  suffered serious complications from anti-obesity surgery and can now only consume liquids and soft foods. She has to have regular blood transfusions because she has anaemia and also has an agonising herniated disc in her back.
In 2011 Miss Vermeulen was diagnosed with MS which leaves her exhausted  for months on end. She wants to end her life before it gets much worse.
When both women spoke to their own doctors about assisted suicide, they were told not to do it.
Miss Liekens was told to wait a few  years and to see what happened with her condition, and not to give up  hope on medical advances in their lifetime. Miss Vermeulen told the National Post that her doctor said: ‘No, you’re too young’.
But they see an early death as the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ even though it will mean Miss Liekens makes an orphan of her son, 17.
The pair were inspired by Belgian doctor and right-to-die activist Wim Distelmans, who critics claim has a ‘license to kill anyone’ and issues ‘death on demand’.
The cancer specialist has already courted controversy for ending the life of a man who went through a botched sex change operation to become a woman.
Should Miss Liekens and Miss Vermeulen follow through on their promise, it will likely reignite the debate in their native Belgium – though it will horrify many in America where euthanasia is only legal in four states and millions bitterly opposing it.
The two friends known each other for  20 years during which time Miss Liekens and Miss Vermeulen have shared  jobs, holidays, endless phone calls and thousands of happy memories.
Both women have elderly parents and only Miss Liekens has a child – she  wants to wait until her son has finished college before taking her own  life.
Describing her frustration with her condition, Miss Liekens said: ‘I’m fed up with the food. ‘I want meat and fish. I don’t want to be an old lady unable to drink a glass of champagne or eat a good meal.
Miss Vermeulen said: ‘I try to enjoy life. Some days it works, some days it doesn’t. But if I don’t want to do it any more, I stop. I pull out the plug.’
The two friends are apparently committed to ending their lives and have downloaded the forms and spoken to an organisation which can assist them.
They admit that some people react as if they are crazy – but that won’t stop them. Miss Liekens said: ‘They say, ‘What are you talking about? There are people who are much worse. ‘But people don’t feel my pain and suffering.’
She added that for her death will be ‘like a light at the end of a tunnel’. She said: ‘You know that when the point comes that you cannot take it any more, you don’t think, ‘My God, how am I going to be here in pain?‘ If you want to get out, it can stop.’
Euthanasia is legal in Belgium but only so long as the patient is in a ‘futile medical condition of constant and unbearable physical or mental suffering that cannot be alleviated’.
Lawmakers recently amended it to go even further and allow children and Alzheimer’s sufferers to be euthanised. Children will only be covered if they are ‘capable of discernment or affected by an incurable illness or suffering that we cannot alleviate’.
Among the patients that Distelmans has helped kill themselves was Belgian Nathan Verhelst, 44, who was born a woman called Nancy. He died of a lethal injection after requesting assisted suicide due to the ‘unbearable psychological suffering’ of his botcher operation which left him looking like a ‘monster’.
Distelmans opened the ULteam clinic with colleagues two years ago to help those seeking euthanasia – the name is a pun on the Dutch word for ultimate, meaning final. According to reports in the Belgian media, his team of doctors killed 33 patients in the last year, the first year of the clinic’s operation.
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Transsexual, 44, elects to die by euthanasia after botched sex-change operation turned him into a ‘monster’

nathan

DailyMail: A Belgian transsexual has chosen to die by euthanasia after a botched sex change operation to complete his transformation into a man left him a ‘monster’.

Nathan Verhelst, 44, died yesterday afternoon after being allowed have his life ended on the grounds of ‘unbearable psychological suffering’.

It is understood to be the first time someone in Belgium has chosen euthanasia after a sex-change, and comes soon after it emerged that it is now the cause of nearly one in 50 deaths in the  country.

Mr. Verhelst died after a lethal injection administered by the same doctor who last year ended the lives of congenitally deaf twins who were also going blind.

Born a girl named Nancy, his transformation  into a man began with hormone therapy in 2009, followed by a mastectomy and  finally an operation to construct a penis last year. But the procedures did not go according to  plan.

In the hours before his death he told Belgium’s Het Laatse Nieuws ‘I was ready to celebrate my new birth. But when I looked in the mirror, I was  disgusted with myself.’ ‘My new breasts did not match my expectations  and my new penis had symptoms of rejection. I do not want to be… a monster.’

His family learned of his decision this  morning via a farewell letter.

Mr Verhelst’s decision comes amid a  fierce debate over euthanasia in Belgium, where the number of deaths due to the controversial practice soared by 25 per cent last year.’

Official figures showed the numbers opting  to end their lives leap from 1,133 in 2011 to 1,432 in 2012, a figure representing about two per cent of all deaths in the country.

Euthanasia is legal under Belgian law if  those making the decision can make their wishes clear and are suffering unbearable pain, according to a doctor’s  judgement.

The Belgian law differs from that of  Switzerland, famous for its Dignitas clinic, where only ‘assisted suicide’ is  permitted. This means patients must play an active role  in the administration of the drug that ends their lives.

Wim Distelmans, a cancer specialist who carried out the euthanasia of Mr.  Verhelst, is the same doctor who last year ended the lives of deaf twins Marc and Eddy Verbessem, who were both going blind.

The 45-year-olds, from the village of Putte,  near the city of Mechelen, had lived together their entire adult lives and could  not communicate with  the outside world. Their  brother, Dirk Verbessem, said at the  time that they were terrified of  never being able to see each other and feared  losing their independence  in an institution.

Professor Distelmans agreed to end their  lives – again on grounds of ‘unbearable psychological suffering’ – after their  local hospital had denied their  request for euthanasia.

Dr Distelmans told the Telegraph ‘The choice of Nathan Verhelst has nothing to do with fatigue of  life.’

‘There are other factors that meant he was in a situation with incurable,  unbearable suffering. Unbearable suffering for euthanasia can be both  physical and psychological. ‘This was a case that clearly met the conditions demanded by the law. Nathan underwent counseling for six  months.’

Last week it emerged that a staggering one in 30 deaths in the Netherlands  are now from euthanasia, after Dutch government allowed mobile death  squads to kill sick and elderly people in their homes.

The country became the first in the world since Nazi Germany to legalise  euthanasia when in 2002 it approved doctor-administered lethal drugs for terminally ill people facing unbearable suffering.

DCG

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