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Euthanasia in Holland
Posted: 04 November 2008 04:31 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I meant to post this comment on another thread about the higher standrad living in “godless” European countries. There is a question I have regarding euthanasia. I have in my possession a book called, The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Sceintific Pretensions by Davd Berlinski. It argues agasint Harris and other atheists.

What makes me wonder about the high standaras of living in Europe is it’s possible we’re not getting the whole story. One item Berlinski mentions is that Holand has legalized euthanasia since 1984. It was not intended as involuntary, but intended to relieve suffering. But according to Berlinski:

Critics immediately objected that Dutch doctors, having been given the right to kill their elderly patients at their request, would almost at once find reasons to kill patiensts at their whim. This is precisely what has happened. According to the Journal of Medical Ethics, in reviewing Dutch Hospital prectices, reported that 3 percent of Dutch deaths for 1995 were assisted suicides, and that of these, fully one fourth were involuntary. The doctors simply knocked their patients off…

Berlinski says that elderly patients carry certificates stating they do not want to die, but that regulation has not been successful. He then asks retorically, “How many atheists will want to spend their old age in Holland?’

This was some time ago, over a decade, so just what is the deal in Holland, and ther Europen countries? Are there other “slippery slopes” we aren’t hearing about?

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...it has to put into the equation: the possibility that there is no God and nothing works for the best. I don’t necessarily subscribe to that view, but I don’t know what I do subscribe to. Why do I have to have a world view? I mean, when I wrote Cujo, I wasn’t even old enough to be president. Maybe when I’m frty or forty-five, but I don’t now. I’m just trying on all these hats.
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Posted: 05 November 2008 06:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Tad,

I can’t speak with all too much certainty on this, but I think all this talk about assisted suicide is a bit of a red herring.

Doctors in Holland end the lives of their patients often, even without consent of the soon-to-be-departed.

Years ago my niece died of cancer, it started in her breast and found its way to her lungs.
She had a hard time breathing at the end of her sick-bed and she was suffering greatly.
We spoke to the doctor who told us “don’t worry, we won’t let her suffocate”.
Translation: We will increase the morphine dose so her heart will stop.
Apparently this is very common and although it is technically murder,who in his right mind would insist that a person’s suffering be prolonged to the maximum?

My uncle, who had a decades long problem with his heart yanked off the oxygen mask after he had his last heart-attack while in the hospital and declared he’d had enough.
They let him die.

I suspect that all this hysteria over euthanasia is probably equal to the religious hoopla over abortion.

It gives them a soap-box of righteousness while in the real world, real doctors and real people are trying hard to increase the quality of life and diminish suffering by making very difficult decisions.
But, of course, a book about these unpleasant nuances won’t sell nearly as many copies.

[ Edited: 05 November 2008 06:41 AM by Lapin Diabolique]
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Posted: 05 November 2008 11:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Tad Trenton’s Ghost - 04 November 2008 09:31 PM

He then asks retorically, “How many atheists will want to spend their old age in Holland?’

From your post, it sounds like Berlinski falsely assumes that atheism automatically entails support for assisted suicide. Is that the case? One can be religious and defend assisted suicide, and one can be atheist and condemn it. He also seems to falsely equate atheism with what is really a pseudoscientific straw man, the old myth of scientists as Dr. Frankensteins thinking themselves as above ethical concerns.

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Posted: 05 November 2008 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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The doctors simply knocked their patients off…

A highly questionable claim. Depending on the structure of Dutch health care, the doctors would risk their jobs or their livelihoods by doing so. Unless Berlinski is alleging a systematic push to off the terminal patients, which is even more outlandish like a Michael Crichton novel.

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Posted: 05 November 2008 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Yeah Jefe I agree. I want to see evidence of that as well. Here is the requirements for performing euthanasia in Holland.

Requirements
Doctors will not be prosecuted if they have met the substantive requirements published by the Royal Dutch Medical Association in 1984 (also confirmed by court decisions). These are:

the patient makes a voluntary request


the request must be well considered
the wish for death is durable
the patient is in unacceptable suffering
the physician has consulted a colleague who agrees the proposed course of action

Hard for me to believe all of this is just washed aside so doctors can kill patients. I am sure it has happened, but I am also sure it is not common place. What physician would risk his career on this?

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Posted: 05 November 2008 03:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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This reminds me of the (in)famous case of Robert Latimer in Canada, who killed his daugther suffering of cerebral palsy as a mercy killing. He spent years in prison for it and was recently released.

Tracy’s Story

Was this the right thing to do? Robert thinks it was.

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Posted: 06 November 2008 10:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Evidence please.

Berlinski doesn’t say much, except that “the authors of the study, Henk Jochensen and John Keown, reported with some understatement that “Dutch claims of effective regulation ring hollow.”

From Tracy’s story and Sander’s post, it is evident that bans on assisted suicide cannot be a good thing.

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...it has to put into the equation: the possibility that there is no God and nothing works for the best. I don’t necessarily subscribe to that view, but I don’t know what I do subscribe to. Why do I have to have a world view? I mean, when I wrote Cujo, I wasn’t even old enough to be president. Maybe when I’m frty or forty-five, but I don’t now. I’m just trying on all these hats.
-Stephen King

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Posted: 06 November 2008 06:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Sander’s post was excellent. Real life is more complicated than a Stephen King novel. Real medical decisions are often very difficult. There is not always an easy answer. Do you honestly think there are more than a handful of physicians who are so horrible that they want to kill their patients? If you do, then you must live in a very scary, paranoid world, and I feel sad for you.

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Posted: 06 November 2008 06:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Beam_Me_Up - 06 November 2008 11:12 PM

Do you honestly think there are more than a handful of physicians who are so horrible that they want to kill their patients? If you do, then you must live in a very scary, paranoid world, and I feel sad for you.

Or else you’re Paul Sheldon locked up with Annie Wilkes.

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Posted: 06 November 2008 07:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Carstonio - 06 November 2008 11:39 PM
Beam_Me_Up - 06 November 2008 11:12 PM

Do you honestly think there are more than a handful of physicians who are so horrible that they want to kill their patients? If you do, then you must live in a very scary, paranoid world, and I feel sad for you.

Or else you’re Paul Sheldon locked up with Annie Wilkes.

Indeed! Every time I treat a trauma victim. I hobble them or euthanize them because I am an evil atheist. First we go to surgery so I can squeeze every last penny from them. Unfortunately, the majority of trauma victims do not have insurance. Surely those physicians in Godless Europe are as cruel and heatless as I am.

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Real honesty is accepting the theories that best explain the actual data even if those explanations contradict our cherished beliefs.-Scotty

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Posted: 07 November 2008 12:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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The beamer: Surely those physicians in Godless Europe are as cruel and heatless as I am.

Oh you’re not heatless Beam… you’re solar!

And all things Sander are excellent.

Tad, I think your author has an agenda: to increase the suffering of ill individuals and paint Europe as the devil’s den. (But I sense you’ve figured this out by now.)

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Posted: 07 November 2008 01:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Whoops.  red face  J has caught both me and the Briny one making spelling errors today. I wish I could say that I did that on purpose just to elicit a compliment. Hey ii, maybe you can dress up like a nun and bring a ruler and swat me! Ah oh, my wife just scowled at me for that. Yes ma’am. I know. I’ll assume the position.

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Posted: 07 November 2008 09:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Real medical decisions are often very difficult. There is not always an easy answer. Do you honestly think there are more than a handful of physicians who are so horrible that they want to kill their patients? If you do, then you must live in a very scary, paranoid world, and I feel sad for you.

I find that the idea that such physicans even exist hard to believe. I agree that voluntary euthanasia in cases where the person is in extreme pain has relieved much human suffering. Holding human life sacred when it comes to these situations defeats its own purpose, becasue the sanctity of human life does not contribute to the welfare of those who wish to be euthanized. But it has long been warned by euthanasia opponents that this will lead to a slippery slope, and Berlinski’s claims that in Holland it has already happened. If he’s right, I do not beleive that a complete ban on any all cases of euthanasia would be advisable.

Sander’s post was excellent. Real life is more complicated than a Stephen King novel.

How many Stephen King novels have you read?

Tad, I think your author has an agenda: to increase the suffering of ill individuals and paint Europe as the devil’s den. (But I sense you’ve figured this out by now.)

Berlinski is another relgious guy-in this case an orthodox Jew-who is attempting to debunk the New atheists. His main objective in this book is debunking their claims. The question is, is he right about this?

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...it has to put into the equation: the possibility that there is no God and nothing works for the best. I don’t necessarily subscribe to that view, but I don’t know what I do subscribe to. Why do I have to have a world view? I mean, when I wrote Cujo, I wasn’t even old enough to be president. Maybe when I’m frty or forty-five, but I don’t now. I’m just trying on all these hats.
-Stephen King

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Posted: 08 November 2008 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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TT’s G: Berlinski is another relgious guy-in this case an orthodox Jew-who is attempting to debunk the New atheists. His main objective in this book is debunking their claims.

ii: Tad, I think your author has an agenda: to increase the suffering of ill individuals and paint Europe as the devil’s den.

I rest my case.

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Posted: 08 November 2008 05:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Here is a link to a site that seems to substantiate Berlinski’s claims:

http://www.euthanasia.com/holland99.html

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...it has to put into the equation: the possibility that there is no God and nothing works for the best. I don’t necessarily subscribe to that view, but I don’t know what I do subscribe to. Why do I have to have a world view? I mean, when I wrote Cujo, I wasn’t even old enough to be president. Maybe when I’m frty or forty-five, but I don’t now. I’m just trying on all these hats.
-Stephen King

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Posted: 09 November 2008 12:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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TadT’s Ghost,
LOOK at your source:

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