Demand for euthanasia surges in the Netherlands

Euthanasia is becoming so popular in the Netherlands that the country’s only dedicated death clinic cannot keep up with the demand. Steven Pleiter, director of the Levenseindekliniek in Amsterdam, told the Guardian that he needs to double the number of doctors. He is running a high-profile advertising campaign to recruit staff. “Doctors at the clinic euthanised 32 patients in 2012, but it will help 720 people to die by the end of this year,” says the Guardian.

This year about 7,000 people will die by euthanasia – up 67% from five years ago. Euthanasia has become normalised.

“If there was any taboo, it has gone. There is a generation coming up, the postwar generation, which is now coming to the life stage in which they will die, and this generation has a far more clear and expressed opinion about how to shape their own life end. I expect far more growth in the years to come ...

“We ask the doctors to work eight to 16 hours a week for this organisation. A full-time job involved in the death of people is probably a bit too much, and ‘probably’ is a euphemism.”

Professor Theo Boer, who served on the Dutch euthanasia review committee between 2005 and 2014, has become a prominent critic of euthanasia.

“Starting from 2007, the numbers increased suddenly. It was as if the Dutch people needed to get used to the idea of an organised death. I know lots of people who now say that there is only one way they want to die and that’s through injection. It is getting too normal ...

“There is no dispute about the good intentions of the people at the end of life clinic. [But] they may have become too used to doing euthanasia. Yes, they have expertise but they are too experienced. You should never get used to helping someone die.”

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet and of BioEdge, a bioethics news service, from which this article has been republished.


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