Euthanasia in Holland
July 3, 2016 9:45am CST
My dear friends had to cancel a trip to see us a few weeks back because the mother of one of them had just been diagnosed with cancer. She is in her 80s, not in great health (other than obviously the advanced cancer) and so she turned down the offer of treatment, saying she'd rather just die in her own way. It's a few weeks after the diagnosis now and I just got an update from her daughter. Her mum wants to die and under Dutch law, she has a right to ask for that. She will be assessed by a doctor who has not previously met her and if she can convince that doctor, she will be allowed to die. If she were a much loved pet, we'd say she could be 'put to sleep'. I think many people are aware of the organisation Dignitas based in Switzerland which offer death services to people who visit them from around the world. What far fewer will be aware of is that Dutch law also allows citizens - under tightly controlled circumstances and conditions - to also end their lives. The big question now for my friend is whether her mother will die before the euthenasia decision can be confirmed. It's a horrible situation for all concerned, but I can't help thinking that the Dutch - as is so often the case - have taken a pragmatic and dignified approach to life's most difficult situation.
16 people like this
4 Jul 16
If I was at that age with cancer and no one is depending on me whatever reason, I would like to be "put to sleep" like what we diid with our beloved german shepherd who was with us for 13 years .. We spent ten minutes with him to say goodbye and thanked him for guarding me all those years.. He was just looking at me crying as if saying, "it's okay, let me go now" ... And then the vet came to the room to give him the needle .. Oh I'm in tears now writing about this experience .. But he was no longer in pain and it was dignified ...
2 people like this
• Northampton, England
4 Jul 16
It's sad we seem to respect animals more than humans in this particular respect. Although I also recognise that there's a risk of old folk being 'put to sleep' when they become 'inconvenient'. The Dutch seem to have a lot of safeguards in place to prevent that happening.
4 Jul 16
@boiboing .... I remember watching on 60minutes program two Australians signed up with that organisation .. But they really made sure that the patients were given a lot of time and counselling .. One of them despite of the unbearable physical pain and suffering, changed his mind because he didn't want to leave his mom all alone in this world .. He was the only child and his father passed away.. It was really sad because the mother although she wants her son to suffer no more, she was scared of losing him.. And the son could not bear the thought of his mother spending the remaining years of her life in loneliness.. It was heartbreaking story.. No matter what they'd do, suffering continues .. ..
3 Jul 16
I agree with the approach of the Dutch. I think that is the right way to do things. No point prolong suffering and causes pain for everyone. The family will suffer pain emotionally when they see their loved one suffering physically and getting thinner and thinner. I hope my country can adopt this.
• Changzhou, China
4 Jul 16
This case recall to me the memory of my deceased grandmother, She had paralyzed for two years and suffered severe pain physically and spiritually. I can't do anything to help her. Perhaps it will be better for her to fall asleep through euthenasia than live longer with despire.