By Wesley J. Smith
Belgium is what the culture of death looks like, behind the veneer of “compassion” and “choice.”
A study in the Journal of Medical Ethics found that nearly 25% of patients denied tube-supplied food and water were dehydrated to death without consent of themselves or family. From the abstract:
“Response rate was 58.4%. A decision to forgo ANH occurred in 6.6% of all deaths (4.2% withheld, 3.0% withdrawn). Being female, dying in a care home or hospital and suffering from nervous system diseases (including dementia) or malignancies were the most important patient-related factors positively associated with a decision to forgo ANH.
“Physicians indicated that the decision to forgo ANH had had some life-shortening effects in 77% of cases. There had been no consultation with the patient in 81%, mostly due to incapacity (coma or dementia). The family, colleague physicians and nurses were involved in decision making in 76%, 41% and 62%, respectively.”
Also note that the study was based on deaths in 2007. The culture of death has permeated all the way into the Belgian bone marrow since then, so I would not be surprised if things were even worse now.
And don’t think this isn’t widespread in active euthanasia. As we have seen in the Netherlands–where termination without request or consent is common and unpunished–once killing is accepted as an acceptable answer to human suffering, “choice” has increasingly less to do with it.
Editor’s note. This appeared on Wesley’s blog.