How do Dutch doctors kill? Let me count the ways: Dutch euthanasia statistics are bogus. Always were.

First, they have a very narrow definition of euthanasia and assisted suicide. For example, when a doctor lethally injects someone who didn’t ask to be killed — known as termination without request or consent — it isn’t technically considered euthanasia.

Second, Dutch doctors intentionally overdose patient with pain medicine to cause death — also not considered euthanasia. A new study finds that about 10% of Dutch doctors have killed by intentionally overdosing. From the story:

One in 10 Dutch family doctors has given dying patients a too-high dose of morphine or other painkiller in order to speed up their death, the Volkskrant reports on Tuesday. The figures come from a survey of 866 family doctors for NCRV television programme Altijd Wat, the Volkskrant said. ‘If a terminally-ill patient is suffering badly, despite being given the correct medicine, then I give someone as much as I think necessary. Protocols are irrelevant on such occasions,’ one anonymous doctor is quoted as saying.

Notice, consent had nothing to do with it.

Third, Dutch doctors often don’t report their euthanasia deaths even though required by law.

Fourth, doctors increasingly used terminal sedation instead of lethal injection. That is, they put a patient into a coma and withhold food and water. For them, that has the benefit of their not having to be present at the death.

A bit ago, I computed the numbers of patient deaths in the Netherlands that involved killing by doctors at close to 14%.

Bottom line: Euthanasia empowers doctors to kill who they think need killing. There is no control or protection other than the consciences of death doctors.

Author Profile

Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC
Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC