Christopher de Bellaigue
Last year a Dutch doctor called Bert Keizer was summoned to the house of a man dying of lung cancer, in order to end his life. . . . Keizer is one of around 60 physicians on the books of the Levenseindekliniek, or End of Life Clinic, which matches doctors willing to perform euthanasia with patients seeking an end to their lives, and which was responsible for the euthanasia of some 750 people in 2017. . . [Full text]
Imagine . . . being the first hospital in human history to be closed for refusing to kill patients in its care.
In February, the archbishop of Edmonton announced that in the event of legalized euthanasia, physicians and other health-care workers of Covenant Health Hospital would not be participating in the active termination of patients’ lives.
In response last month, Alberta’s associate health minister Brandy Payne stated that Covenant Health’s conscientious objection would be respected, and that patients requesting life termination there would be transferred. That seems reasonable. After all, when conscripted soldiers refuse to go to war for reasons of conscience, they are not asked to provide their own combat replacement.
In Quebec, by contrast, where euthanasia is already in effect, any Christian institution that refuses to comply with the legislation will be shut down. (Imagine the dubious distinction of being the first hospital in human history to be closed for refusing to kill patients in its care.)
Ethics-based tension in the medical community is but one of many concerns we must acknowledge to be inherent in Bill C-14. . . [Full Text]
In one of the last photographs my family took of my grandmother, she looks as if she’s been in a fistfight. Jean Bass Tinsley is lying in a hospital bed in Athens, Georgia, wearing a turquoise button-up shirt and staring blankly at the camera. A bandage obscures her fractured skull, along with the bridge of her bloodied nose. She is 91 years old.
My grandmother essentially did this to herself. In June 2013, she fell out of her wheelchair headfirst, after ignoring her caregivers’ warnings not to get out of bed without help. Earlier that year, she’d broken both of her hips, in separate falls. Before that, her pelvis-all while trying to do what for most of her life she’d managed just fine on her own: walk.
In her last year, dementia crept into my grandmother’s mind. The staff at her long-term-care facility plotted ways to protect her from herself. It’s against the law in Georgia to restrain patients in such facilities, so they lowered her bed to the floor and put a pad down next to it. They even installed an alarm that went off if she left her mattress. My grandmother disabled the alarm, moved the pad and freed herself, repeatedly. In the end, she was both too weak and too strong. [Full text]
A prominent professor of ethics who was once part of the Netherlands’ euthanasia bureaucracy has again voiced his qualms over the present interpretation and use of the Dutch euthanasia law in a lengthy interview published last week by the Protestant daily, Trouw.
Prof. Theo Boer is worried that current trends in the Netherlands are trivializing euthanasia to an extent that many who fought for legalization of “mercy killing” in the 1990s now privately express their opinion that it has gone too far. And it will be hard to turn back the clock, he acknowledges.
Theo Boer does not oppose euthanasia: on the contrary, he served as an ethicist for nine years on one of the five regional control commissions that monitor all cases of declared euthanasia in the Netherlands. He stepped down last September. [Full text]