97 people with dementia have died at the hands of their doctors, in Holland, new figures show.  Deaths by euthanasia have increased by 151 per cent in just seven years in Holland.  The Dutch Regular, Professor Boer, says the Dutch experiment is out of control.

Most cases – some 3,600 people – involved cancer sufferers but there were also 97 people who died at the hands of their doctors because they were suffering from dementia, the figures show. It has also emerged that a Dutch woman in her 80s was killed by her doctors just because she did not want to live in a care home. The case is the first to be referred to Dutch prosecutors by regulators since euthanasia was legalised in Holland 12 years ago.

The figures, however, don’t include death by terminal sedation, where patients are given a cocktail of sedatives and narcotics before food and fluids are withdrawn.

Studies suggest that if such deaths were added to the figure then euthanasia would account for one in eight – about 12.3 per cent – of all deaths in the Netherlands.

Earlier this year, Dutch Regulator, Professor Boer, who has reviewed 4,000 cases of euthanasia in his role as a regulator, advised the British Parliament not to adopt it.  Once a firm advocate of euthanasia, he said that he now the Dutch were ‘terribly wrong’ to think they could control it.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Professor Boer said his country has witnessed an ‘explosive increase’ in the numbers of euthanasia deaths since 2007 and that he expected the number of such deaths this year to hit 6,000.

Doctors in neighbouring Belgium, which this year legalised euthanasia for children, are now killing an average of five people every day by euthanasia, according to latest figures, with a 27 per cent surge in the number of euthanasia deaths in the last year alone.

In one of the most shocking cases, a Brussels man last week described how he arranged the double euthanasia of his octogenarian parents who wanted to die because they were afraid of loneliness.

Dr Peter Saunders of the Christian Medical Fellowship said the Dutch experiment proved that doctor-assisted death was impossible to regulate effectively.

‘Euthanasia in the Netherlands is way out of control,’ he said. ‘The House of Lords calculated in 2005 that with a Dutch-type law in Britain we would be seeing over 13,000 cases of euthanasia per year.’

‘On the basis of how Dutch euthanasia deaths have risen since this may prove to be a gross underestimate. ‘What we are seeing in the Netherlands is “incremental extension”, the steady intentional escalation of numbers with a gradual widening of the categories of patients to be included.’

He said there was a similar pattern of increasing numbers of assisted suicide and euthanasia in the US state of Oregon, Switzerland, and Belgium.

Dr Saunders said: ‘The lessons are clear. Once you relax the law on euthanasia or assisted suicide steady extension will follow as night follows day.’ He added: ‘Britain needs to take warning as debate on the Falconer bill continues.’

Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill received its Second Reading in July and it will reach committee stage in November after Parliament reconvenes.



Louise Morse

Louise Morse MA (CBT) is media and external relations manager for the Pilgrims’ Friend Society. She is a writer and speaker, and author of books on issues of old age, including dementia, published by Lion Monarch and SPCK. She is a cognitive behavioural therapist, and her Masters’ dissertation examined the effects of caring for a loved one with dementia on close relatives.

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