Experience in countries that have legalised doctors killing their patients or assisting in their suicide reveal an alarming increase in Elder Abuse.
Age Concern charity estimates that “between 17,000 and 25,000 older Kiwis experience some sort of abuse each year”. What is even worse is that about 75% of all alleged abusers are family members. Recently the Senior Citizens Minister, Maggie Barry, released the 2014 Report on the Positive Ageing Strategy, “that found that each year about 3-10 per cent of older people are subjected to physical, psychological, sexual or financial abuse, and predicted that rate would increase.”
In April a 80 year-old woman suffering dementia in the Netherlands was given a lethal injection to kill her after her family obtained a court order obliging the care facility for the elderly where she was living, to let her leave in order to fulfil her “death wish.” The woman was incapable of expressing her will. She was legally killed one day after having left the Clinic “Ter Reede” in Flushing. The management, medical staff, and the woman’s general practitioner were all opposed to the killing of this helpless patient.
The case marks a milestone in the slippery slope of legal euthanasia in the Netherlands and should be a warning to New Zealand. This is the first time a doctor’s decision not to kill a patient because of his or her mental incapacitation, has been overridden by a court. This is plainly and simply judicial murder.
Every human being has an inalienable right to life and has intrinsic dignity as a unique and unrepeatable miracle of God’s creation.
The Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) wants to loosen the definition of “unbearable suffering” for euthanasia qualification to include non-medical issues. New guidelines will certainly change that. These social factors include matters such as “loneliness,” strained “financial resources,” and a “loss of social skills.”These guidelines are an encouragement to abuse of the elderly. A recent study revealed that 52 per cent of Dutch doctors in the group of 800 who specialise in euthanasia would be prepared to give those with dementia a lethal dose. Twenty -five per cent of euthanasia killings in Holland are without the request of the patient. Thirty per cent of patients in Holland who request euthanasia, believe that they are a burden on their family and society.
According to Alzheimers New Zealand, there are 53,000 patients with dementia in this country, with a further 40,000 undiagnosed. This is expected to increase to 200,000 in fifty years. It costs $954 million a year to treat dementia plus $37 million for carers. In fifty years, the cost will be more than $4 Billion.
With an increasing aging population and reduced health spending, if we legalised the killing of the aged, the disabled, and the seriously ill, we could follow the example of Oregon where the Department of Health following the introduction of doctor assisted suicide in 1997, cut back on health coverage and care of the sick and elderly and offered instead to pay for lethal pills to enable the person to commit suicide as health care.
Euthanasia is not health care it is cold blooded murder. Our elderly, the disabled and the very ill deserve respect, compassion and care. They can live without euthanasia.
Right to Life