By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Over the weekend the Daily Mail reported that Colin Brewer, a British psychiatrist who had lost his medical license, had approved the assisted suicide deaths of six people with dementia.
“Five of the Britons died at Dignitas in Zurich, while the other died at another Swiss suicide clinic called Life Circle in Basel,” according to Sanchez Manning.
Manning reported that Brewer, who is no longer permitted to practice medicine, told the Daily Mail that he had done mental capacity tests on six people with dementia before approving their suicide deaths in Switzerland.
None of the six people were terminally ill.
Baroness Ilora Finlay, one of Britain’s most eminent end-of-life doctors and an opponent of legalising assisted suicide, told the Daily Mail:
You don’t know how the disease [dementia] might or might not progress.
Some people may be frightened and may be in despair.
But if you assist their suicide you cut their life off by months or years when they may never have gone on to experience more severe forms of the disease.’
Alistair Thompson, a spokesman for the group Care Not Killing, added:
A lot of people fear that when there is a care crisis within the NHS [National Health Service]there will be more pressure on people who are elderly and frail to think about ending their lives.
Manning also reported
Brewer ran an addiction clinic in London before he was struck off in 2006 by the General Medical Council after a patient for whom he had prescribed drugs died.
He can see and assess patients offering non-medical services as long as he makes clear that he is not on the medical register.
Yesterday, after speaking to a group, one of the attendees told me that he supported euthanasia for incompetent people. He said that when his mother-in-law was nearing death, she became unaware of her surroundings. He asked me, what was the purpose of her life? and then he said – How much money did it cost the government to care for her?
I responded by saying, “Sadly, your comments tell me that history may repeat itself. Killing is never the solution to human problems.
We support caring options, not killing.
Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.