S4 Euthanasia Research Tasks Posted on October 2, 2009 by jburt Current UK Murder Law Current Legislation on Euthanasia in UK The case of Dianne Pretty The case of Tony Bland The House of Lords on Euthanasia Comparison to Netherlands Does this system appear to be working?
Here’s the latest research I have been given… Let’s get them all in and not let each other down…
Do Laws on Euthanasia in the Netherlands work?
The first country to legalize Euthanasia
An interesting fact from the Netherlands legal is that by the age of 16 you can obtain Euthanasia at your own choice
From 12-15 you can also be legally euthanised with some parental permission.
Do preform euthanasia the patient must be terminally ill with not hope of recovery
It must be agreed by two doctors, that this is the best option for the specific patient.
Every treatment must be exhausted, and it must be the last resort.
Doctors have to be satisfied that the patient has voluntary and carefully considered the request
Their aim is to respect the wishes of individual cases but to avoid the doors being open to anyone.
After assisting with the suicide, doctors are required to make a full report to the legal authorities.
There are many claims that the above fact does not happen.
Numbers in Euthanasia.
Number of deaths in Netherlands per annum
Unreported cases of deaths of Euthanasia
Support in the Netherlands (euthanasia)
Number of doctors preforming the treatment
Does this treatment work?
Dutch laws claim that it is to refrain from ‘loss of dignity’ or to prevent further suffering
However many cases are unreported and left unchecked
Researchers conclude that ‘a clear majority of cases of Euthanasia, both with and without request go unreported. Dutch claims of effective regulation ring hollows.’
so although some can find a way to end their lives peacefully many cases still go under radar and you could argue are not dignified/legal.
How do they knows its really effective? if so many cases are swept under the rug.
So this treatment is very morally complicated and is why it is not legal in most countries because of the unsolved cases.
Jenni and Henry 😀
UK Law on Euthanasia in Comparison to the Netherlands Law
Euthanasia has been practised by doctors in the Netherlands since 1973, often quite openly. Even though the law clearly states that a person who takes the life of another person at that person’s request was punished by imprisonment for a maximum of 12 years or by fine, the Dutch rarely prosecuted anyone for it.
However, now that Euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands, there are still strict safeguards around it to make sure it is not abused. These include the facts that the patient must be terminally ill with no signs of recovery, they must personally request euthanasia and this must be in the context of a professional relationship with a doctor who is aware of the case history and therefore the person’s mental state, if a competent patient requests euthanasia, by a way of advance directive, to be later consulted in the event that they are no longer competent, euthanasia must be the last option – every form of treatment having been tried previously, and finally, it must be agreed by at least two doctors that euthanasia is the best option for the specific patient.
Another interesting issue of debate of the law in the Netherlands on euthanasia states that children between the ages of 12 and 16 who are terminally ill, with their parents permission, can obtain euthanasia, (above the age of 16 is entirely your decision.) But in “exceptional” cases, those involved in serious and incurable or intolerable and relentless suffering, can end their own life without parental consent. Many people argue this age is far too young to comprehend these types of issues.
The aim of euthanasia in the Netherlands is to respect the wishes of individuals in certain cases, but to avoid giving Euthanasia as an option to everyone for any reason. Many argue that this is a sensible approach on respecting human freedom to choose and avoid the dangers of unregulated euthanasia – however, some people say that it still makes euthanasia too readily available and some of the abuses people fear in the Netherlands. Also, it has been claimed that many cases have not been reported at all. After assisted suicide, doctors are required to make a full report to the Royal Dutch Medical Association as well as the legal authorities, but, evidently, this doesn’t always happen.
Since May 2002, the Belgian law allows doctors to help kill patients who, during a terminal illness, express a wish to hasten their own death. This law was undertaken after the Netherlands introduced it. Belgium sets out strict conditions under which suicide can be practised without giving doctors a licence to kill: like the Netherlands law, patients who wish to end their own lives must be conscious when the demand is made and repeat their request for euthanasia, they must also be in constant, unbearable pain. However, unlike the Dutch legislation, minors cannot seek assistance to die.
Amy and Erin
Tony Bland was an 18 year old who was left in a “persistent vegetative state” after the hillsborough disaster. His parents appealed for a court order to have the life support machine which kept him alive turned off. It was the first time this had ever happened in Britain. This actually happened four years after the accident, the parents reason being that they wanted him to “die with dignity”. He died of an induced kidney failure in 1993
He suffered crushed ribs and two punctured lungs, causing an interruption in the supply of oxygen to his brain. As a result, he sustained horrible damage to the higher centres of the brain, which had left him in a Persistent Vegetative State (PVS). Several attempts were made by his docter to try to get some response from him and for some signs of interaction. However, all these attempts failed.
THE LAW BEFORE
Prior to Bland, English case law on the non-treatment of patients was restricted to newborn babies. There have been several recorded cases of handicapped newborns being ‘allowed to die’. A leading case was that of a baby with Down Syndrome complicated by intestinal obstruction which, if left untreated without surgery, would be fatal. The parents felt that it would be in the child’s best interests if she were left to die. This was a decision upheld by Lord Justice Dunn at first instance, who lauded the parents’ decision as being ‘an entirely reasonable one’. However, this was overturned by the courts who reasoned that she would have ‘a reasonable quality of life’.
The Official Solicitor appealed the ruling all the way to House of Lords but in February 1993 the Law Lords ruled in favour of Tony Bland’s doctors.
His life support machine was switched off on 22 February and he died on 3 March.
In April 1994 the High Court rejected an attempt by a pro-life campaigner, Father James Morrow, to get the doctor who withdrew food and drugs from Tony Bland charged with murder.
Up to October 2000 there had been 18 cases brought before the English and Welsh courts by doctors or relatives asking to withdraw food or water from comatose patients.
However the law still upstands and the law still states that this was an extreme case and so most other appeals of this kind are overturned.
Matthew & James