Belgian Doctor Euthanizes Patient with a Pillow

By Wesley J. Smith

Euthanasia is not the practice of medicine. It just puts a “medical” patina on homicide.

Proof of point: When a doctor tried to lethally inject a patient at her request and she didn’t die, he smothered her with a pillow. From the Daily Telegraph New Zealand story:

A terminally ill Belgian woman was ‘euthanized’ by suffocation with a pillow by a doctor after lethal drugs she requested to be administered to her to voluntarily end her life proved to be insufficient, according to reports by Belgian media . . . When the cocktail of drugs failed to have the desired effect, the doctor allegedly used a pillow to suffocate the woman to end her life. A post mortem examination showed signs of suffocation, 7sur7 reported.

An expert on medicalized killing is unhappy with the means of death:

“What happened is not euthanasia,” Belgian politician and doctor Jacques Brotchi said to RTL Info. Such a definition of this terrible situation devalues the gesture of euthanasia, which accompanies a person to the end without pain.”

No, it is precisely euthanasia — which is, after all, solely about making the patient dead. The use of “medications” and the doctor’s presence is just a veneer that hides the harsh truth of what is being done.

Apparently, the family plans to sue.

Renaud Molders-Pierre, a lawyer representing the family, said that the bereaved are not demanding heavy sanctions but added that if rules exist, it is so that sick rooms do not turn into crime scenes where anything can be done.”

Frankly, this is nonsensical. Why should the killing be considered “medicine” if she died by a lethal jab and a “crime scene” if by suffocation? The point was to end her suffering by making her dead, and that deed was accomplished.

(Another version of the story states that nurses did the smothering after the doctor failed to palliatively sedate the patient, which is different from euthanasia. If so, that would be murder under the law, since the patient did not ask to be killed. Intriguingly, no criminal charges have apparently been filed even though the killing took place in 2022, which — in and of itself — tells us all we need to know about how the culture of death distorts ethical thinking.)

Editor’s note. Wesley’s great column appeared at National Review One and are reposted with his permission.