When I read the heading of this article I thought it was talking about euthanasia in animals. I was wrong:
‘A CONTROVERSIAL system of mobile euthanasia units that will travel round the Netherlands to respond to the wishes of sick people who wish to end their lives has been launched.
The scheme will send the teams, made up of doctors and nurses specially trained for the purpose, to the homes of people whose own doctors have refused to carry out the patients’ requests to end their lives.
The launch of the ”Levenseinde”, or ”Life End”, house-call units, whose services are being offered to Dutch citizens free of charge, coincides with the opening of a clinic of the same name in the Hague which will take patients with incurable illnesses as well as others who do not want to die at home.
The initiative is that of the Dutch Association for a Voluntary End to Life (NVVE), a 130,000-member strong euthanasia organisation that is the biggest of its kind in the world.
The Netherlands was the first country to legalise euthanasia in 2002 and its legislation is considered to be the most liberal in the world. But doctors cannot be forced to comply with the wishes of patients who request the right to die and many do refuse, which was what prompted NVVE to develop a method to fill the gap.
Sick people or their relatives can submit their applications via telephone or email and if the request fulfills a number of strict criteria, the team is dispatched.
Legal guidelines state that the person must be incurably sick, be suffering unbearable pain, and have expressed the wish to die voluntarily, clearly and on several occasions.’
I come from the animal health perspective but this is insane! How is this ‘mobile team’ suppose to assess either the person’s health status or their mental state? What does ‘unbearable pain’ means exactly? What if the patient is in ‘unbearable pain’ because their daughter-in-law ‘unbearably’ wants them out of her house so she can turn their room into a home-theatre?
I could use a cliché along the lines of ‘this opens a can of worms’ but I think it is too late for that.