10% of Cancer Patients Killed by Euthanasia, some Without Consent

A survey of end of life decisions among Flemish cancer patients has found that more than one in 10 deaths (10.4%) were from euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide.

The study, published in The British Journal of Cancer, was based on a questionnaire sent to Flemish physicians who had certified a representative sample of all deaths in Flanders. The doctors were asked whether, in the case of a death that wasn’t sudden or unexpected, they had either 1) withheld or withdrawn life-prolonging medical treatment, 2) intensified the alleviation of pain and/or other symptoms with drugs with the possibility of hastening death; or (3) administered, supplied or prescribed drugs with the explicit intention of hastening death. . .

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the report is the finding that “the administration of drugs with the explicit intention to hasten death (life-shortening acts) without the explicit request from the patient occurred in 1.8% (1.0-3.4%) of the cancer deaths during the studied period.” The authors dismiss the idea of the “slippery slope” in regard to this evidence of patients being killed without consent, saying: “no clear evidence has been found to support this fear. In Belgium and the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been legal for many years, the proportion of deaths in which life-ending drugs were used without explicit patient request has not risen since the legalisation.” (Read more from “10% of Cancer Patients Killed by Euthanasia, some Without Consent” HERE)

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