Friday, August 4, 2017

Netherlands: Euthanasia and assisted suicide accounted for 5% of all deaths in 2016.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) recently published the data from the five year Netherlands euthanasia study entitled: End-of-Life Decisions in the Netherlands over 25 years.

The data from the study indicates that there were 7254 assisted deaths (6672 euthanasia deaths, 150 assisted suicide deaths, 431 terminations of life without request) and 18,213 deaths whereby the medical decisions that were intended to bring about the death in the Netherlands in 2015.

According to the Netherlands 2015 euthanasia report there were 5561 reported assisted deaths in 2015 and yet the data from the study indicates that there were 7254 assisted deaths in 2015. Therefore, there were 1693 unreported assisted deaths (approximately 23%) in 2015.

Based on the data from the study, many news articles stated that 4.5% of all deaths in the Netherlands were by euthanasia. 

When analyzing the data from the study, in 2015, there were 147,134 deaths from all causes, there were 6672 euthanasia deaths, 150 assisted suicide deaths and 431 terminations of life without request in the Netherlands. Based on the euthanasia and assisted suicide deaths alone there were 6822 assisted deaths representing more than 4.6% of all deaths.

Since the study analyzed 2015 data and since the number of assisted deaths increased by 10% in the Netherlands in 2016, therefore euthanasia and assisted suicide represented more than 5% of all deaths in the Netherlands in 2016.
Further to that, in January 2016, euthanasia was extended to people with severe dementia in the Netherlands.

A study published in the Journal of Psychiatry (Feb 10, 2016) 
uncovered significant concerns with euthanasia for psychiatric reasons in the Netherlands. According to researcher Scott Kim:
...in one EAS case, a woman who died by euthanasia was in her 70s without health problems had decided, with her husband, that they would not live without each other. After her husband died, she lived a life described as a "living hell" that was "meaningless." 
A consultant reported that this woman "did not feel depressed at all. She ate, drank and slept well. She followed the news and undertook activities."
At the same time, the suicide rate in the Netherlands is at an all time high.

The reality is that euthanasia is out-of-control in the Netherlands study. This information should be a wake-up call for Canada, that legalized euthanasia last year and Australia, who are currently debating the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

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