“She kept on, kept on. Finally told me, said: I dont like the way this country is headed. I want my granddaughter to be able to have an abortion. And I said well mam I dont think you got any worries about the way the country is headed. The way I see it goin I dont have much doubt but what she’ll be able to have an abortion. I’m goin to say that not only will she be able to have an abortion, she’ll be able to have you put to sleep. Which pretty much ended the conversation.”
— Sheriff Ed Tom Bell in Cormac McCarthy’s No Country For Old Men.
The Guardian reported new rules facilitated involuntary euthanasia for the Dutch elderly following a recent court case in which the euthanizing doctor was acquitted of murdering an elderly patient who did not want the needle.
Doctors euthanising a patient with severe dementia may slip a sedative into their food or drink if there are concerns they will become “disturbed, agitated or aggressive”, under a change to the codes of practice in the Netherlands.
The review committee for cases of euthanasia refreshed its guidance in response to the case of a former nursing home doctor, Marinou Arends, who was prosecuted for murder and cleared after putting a sedative in her 74-year-old patient’s coffee before giving a lethal injection.
Arends was given a written reprimand by the Dutch medical board for acting on the basis of two “advance directives” in which the patient said only that she wished to die when she considered the time was right.
But in April the supreme court ruled that no laws had been broken and dismissed the medical board’s decision, ruling that if a patient is no longer capable of giving assent, a doctor need not take a literal interpretation of an advance directive if the circumstances do not match the eventual scenario.
In response to the court, Jacob Kohnstamm, the chair of the euthanasia review committee, said his body needed to update its code for doctors involved in euthanasia.
The new code says that in cases where a patient has advanced dementia, “it is not necessary for the doctor to agree with the patient the time or manner in which euthanasia will be given”.
Roman Catholic fsspx news described the case.
This astonishing decision follows a judgment of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands last April, which decided to clear of all suspicion a doctor who had sedated his patient in order to eliminate her without her knowledge.
The facts date back to 2016. The practitioner – named Marinou Arends – was convicted of murder after euthanizing a patient with advanced Alzheimer’s disease.
The latter reportedly initially indicated that she wished to be euthanized, in case she was transferred to a retirement home. The patient later retracted, indicating on several occasions that she no longer wanted euthanasia performed on her.
Notwithstanding this about-face, Marinou Arends quite simply ended the days of his patient, without her knowing, after giving her a sedative mixed in her coffee.
Here is where we fall tip over into horror: the sedative did not have the desired effect and the poor woman tried to pull her arm away from the fatal needle; and it was with the muscular help of the patient’s son-in-law that the doctor was able to carry out the killing.
In a far-reaching judgment, for which its members will have to answer before history, the Supreme Court overturned the murder conviction and cleared Arends.