Survey reveals doctors would kill those with dementia: Would you want this? 9



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In the Netherlands, where euthanasia is not only legal but practiced, a survey has revealed that 52 per cent of Dutch euthanasia doctors would kill their dementia patients with the fatal injection the country is so infamous for. It raises an interesting discussion for those who have watched loved ones struggle with dementia, as to whether they support such a view.

Holland has a population a little smaller than Australia – 17 million people – and yet across this population, euthanasia practitioners are becoming quite prevalent. 547 doctors, or approximately 82 per cent, of the country’s euthanasia doctors participated in the survey that revealed their position on dementia sufferers.

SCEN doctors are an increasing breed in the Netherlands with a very tactical purpose.

“SCEN doctors … can be called upon by family doctors who face a euthanasia request and who need help with the procedure, specialized and independent advice as to whether their patient should ‘benefit’ according to the requirements for ‘careful’ euthanasia, or a second opinion as prescribed by the Dutch euthanasia law,” LifeSiteNews Paris correspondent Jeanne Smits reports.

However, the so-called “careful” measures are reportedly only applied once patients’ lives are already claimed by the lethal procedure.

“Compliance with the ‘strict’ criteria of the law is assessed retrospectively, once the act has been performed and declared: should it not be judged ‘careful,’ the family doctor would then face prosecution,” Ms Smits explains. “A SCEN doctor’s opinion is no guarantee, but it is extremely rare for the Regional Euthanasia Control Commissions to disavow it”.

Even though euthanasia is a relatively new practice in the Netherlands’ medical field, it has caught on much quicker than many had anticipated.

“In the survey, four per cent of the SCEN doctors said they had personally approved euthanasia for a person who was unable to express his or her personal will because of advanced dementia,” Smits informed. “Considering the first such case registered — and approved — by a Regional Euthanasia Control Commission took place only four years ago, in 2011, this is no small number; it means 22 SCEN doctors have already approved euthanasia in that context even though the actual amount of acts performed would probably be lower”.

Smits says the early openness of doctors to the fatal procedure is alarming.

“Even more worryingly, 52 per cent of the doctors said they could imagine personally approving euthanasia in the case of a demented person incapable of expressing his or her will, should the patient have requested it through advance directives or a ‘living will'”.


Tell us today… Have you had a loved one suffer with dementia? Would you have wanted euthanasia to have been an option?

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. Mucky waters where people could get rid of someone for reasons personal not medical have to be so carefull!

  2. Fortunately no, but I have been in a position where I had to make a decision on either on “aggressive life support” or chance “recovery through medication”
    It all comes down to what is best for the patient. Worrying about estates or power is a bi product dealt with by other laws.
    If a person no longer participates in day to day life or their own welfare, is mentally & physically in an alien state with family, & completely incognisant of their surroundings, then they are on life support, & that to me, is not life, & cruel to keep them misled.
    It doesn’t strike me as “alarming” that so many doctors have changed their mind
    That it has taken so long for common sense to prevail over the inhumanity of staving off death, for no apparent reason, has been “Concerning” to me.

  3. I have an Advanced Care Directive requesting no CPR, and nothing but pain relief should I fall into an unresponsive state – would change it to be euthanased in a breath!

  4. My suggestion is for everyone to do an Advanced Care Directive while they are still capable so that your family knows what your wishes are. This takes the problem off their hands so they do not have to deal with it, also speak with your family and let them know what you want if anything happens eg a stroke etc.

    1 REPLY
    • You are so right Robyyn.
      I have instructed my family and had it put in my will legally.
      That in the event of me being on life support after every one of the family have said their goodbyes.
      The machine gets turned off.
      Once I am no longer alive, then they can harvest any of my organs
      If they are any good to some one else.

  5. I would definitely want this.I watched my aunt go through this horrible process.She was a kind, true ladylike person who became violent and foul mouthed.She could no longer feed herself or have control over her bladder or bowels.Her speech was a whimper and she didn’t recognise anyone.She would have been horrified if she had had any awareness of what she became.

    1 REPLY
    • Yes I would and will agree with it when it becomes available to us in Australia. I visited my Father in an aged care facility and to watch him losing his mind and self to the terrible disease called dementia was a torment I still live with. On the occasions he was with me he would say please do something to finalize this for me. I could do nothing for this Man who raised nine children was a vibrant and energetic human being survived serving in the second world war and loved life to its fullest in his healthy mind he would never have envisaged this demise for himself let alone anyone else.

  6. My mother passed away a week a go with a long battle of dementia no human being should end their life in such a tormenting way. Pity that she was not allowed to go in peace. Yes I do believe in euthanasia. Animals don’t suffer they are put down, humans are not given that right the law needs to change

  7. It’s not just dementia that euthanasia would be used for, it’s all the other things that go wrong with us….that’s why it would be a bit like opening Pandora’s Box.

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