Is euthanasia for psychological suffering changing Belgian medicine?

MercatorNet 7 November 2017
Family First Comment: Disturbing to see what’s happening in Belgium.
“Death by euthanasia in Belgium is, generally, no longer regarded as an exception requiring special justification. Instead, it is often regarded as a normal death and a benefit not to be restricted to without special justification.”

Belgium’s debate over euthanasia for psychological suffering is heating up. Last week 42 psychiatrists, psychologists and academics published an open letter calling for a national debate on euthanasia and mental illness.

Euthanasia because of unbearable and futile psychological suffering is very problematic. It is about people who are not terminal and, in principle, could live for many years. Therefore, extreme caution is appropriate both clinically and legally. The essence of the case seems to us that in estimating the hopelessness of one’s suffering, the subjective factor cannot be eliminated …

The current law, the signatories say, is far too vague and flexible:

“The law does not indicate the exact criteria for unbearable and psychological suffering. Any complaint about any carelessness in this area will only end in a legal ‘no man’s land’.

“More and more, no matter how many criteria there are, it depends simply on how an individual psychiatrist interprets or tests them, aided by the doctor’s own assumptions and the patient’s account of his symptoms.”

Some people are dying unnecessarily, the signatories claim. To stand silently on the sidelines is a crime of neglect.

The danger inherent in euthanasia for psychological suffering is a topic which seems to bore the Belgian media. But it was jolted out of its slumber by an exclusive article (in English) from Associated Press which also appeared in the Washington Post. This prompted a number of articles in the local press.
READ MORE: https://www.mercatornet.com/mobile/view/is-euthanasia-for-psychological-suffering-changing-belgian-medicine

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.