Last January, a Regional Euthanasia Review Committee in the Netherlands considered the case of a doctor who surreptitiously drugged an elderly woman who suffered dementia with a sedative for the purpose of facilitating the woman’s death by euthanasia. The woman had earlier expressed an interest in being euthanized, “when I myself find it the right time.” But, it was discovered that she had said several times in the days prior to her being killed that she did not want to die. When the doctor attempted to administer the lethal drug, the woman awoke from the sedative and tried to fight the doctor off. The doctor then enlisted the help of the woman’s family in holding her down so she could administer the lethal dose, and the woman died.
- the woman, while interested in euthanasia, nevertheless made it clear that she would determine the right time
- the woman had stated several times over the days just prior to her death that she did not want to die
- the doctor drugged the woman with a sedative without her knowledge or consent
- the doctor attempted to administer a lethal dose without the woman’s knowledge or consent
- the woman attempted to fight off the doctor when she began administering the lethal dose
- the doctor required the help of the woman’s family in holding her down so she could administer the lethal dose
All of these seem to point to the clear-cut commission of a murder. Did the Review Committee determine that the doctor had murdered the woman? No. The Review Committee did determine the following:
- the doctor applied too broad of an interpretation to the woman’s expressed interest in euthanasia
- the doctor “crossed a line” in drugging the woman without her knowledge or consent
- the doctor failed to inform the woman about the sedative because she feared that without the sedative the planned euthanasia would be disrupted
- the doctor had not spoken with the woman about the planned euthanasia because she did not want to cause unnecessary distress for the woman
- the doctor should have stopped in her attempt to administer the lethal injection when the woman started fighting her
The Review Committee, however, judged that the doctor had acted “in good faith” during all of the above and, as such, she should not be punished. The Review Committee did say that the case should be considered by the Dutch courts, though not to punish the doctor, but to settle what they believe are unclear guidelines for euthanizing those who suffer dementia.
Unclear guidelines? The doctor acted “in good faith”? Basically, the doctor decided that this woman’s life was not worth living and, conspiring with the woman’s family, took her life without her consent and, even more, in conflict with the woman’s stated wishes. Why is that not murder? Because in the Netherlands those who suffer dementia no longer have a right to live. The meaning and purpose of their life is now to be determined by their doctors and their families, both of whom may have significant conflicts of interest on the matter. Regardless of any inability to consent to their deaths, or any expressed wish to live, or of any attempt by them to frustrate the designs of those who would have them dead, they must die. The state has made it clear that it will protect the murderers from prosecution.
This case is not unrelated to that of Charlie Gard, the baby who died recently in England from a congenital anomaly. I’ll have more to say about Charlie’s case tomorrow. Suffice it to say, for now, that individual and parental rights are under assault in Europe by an overreaching state, including the most basic right, the right to life.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.