Dr Peter Saunders has some grim but unexpected stats on the rise of euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands.
Of specific interest to me was this:
13 psychiatric patients were euthanized, an increase of over 500% on the two reported in 2010.
I find this particularly disturbing as I believed a bedrock argument for euthanasia was grounded on the ‘free to choose’ premise. Can we say with confidence that psychiatric patients seeking euthanasia are capable of making free choices?
I asked Dr Peter Saunders on Twitter his thoughts on this and he responded:
@echurchblog In Netherlands u have 2b terminally ill, suffering unbearably and mentally competent – so it doesn’t fit but they do it anyway
— Peter Saunders (@drpetersaunders) September 26, 2012
Suicidal psychiatric patients as ‘mentally competent’ strikes me as a gross misnomer.
Alex Schadenbery commented yesterday:
Euthanasia for psychiatric patients in the Netherlands will likely increase substantially over the next few years in response to a Dutch article published last year in the Journal of Psychiatry advocating for the expansion of euthanasia for psychiatric patients.
And Wesley J. Smith over on First Things reported the following from the article in the Dutch language tijdschrift voor psychiatrie 53 (2011) 8 (Journal of Psychiatry):
Assisted suicide, as a last resort in psychiatry, legally admissible since 2002, recently legitimized in practice. The midwife [of] Death is now appropriate for psychiatric reach patients, representing an emancipation of the psychiatric patient and psychiatry itself.
Wesley went on to comment:
The name should be changed to “validated suicide,” once the imprimatur of a psychiatrist is put on the deed.
And so the last line of defense against the assisted suicides of mentally ill and other patients–a good mental health professional fighting for the life of despairing patients–slips away. Now, psychiatrists will help people make “rational” decisions to kill themselves in the Netherlands on an increasing scale.
I have been saved from my suicidal self on more than one occasion and I thank God for those interventions by outside agencies.
What if I had been given the choice to opt for the euthanasia route with the encouragement and support of my psychiatrist?
I think the answer is self-evident.