A few weeks ago, the subject of the law on euthanasia was raised and debated on blogs, such as Anna Raccoon’s piece here, as a result of the Terry Pratchett documentary.
Doctors are impressed by the superior condition of lungs taken from people who killed by lethal injection compared to those extracted from those killed in accidents.
How nice for them…
The authors of the study, Initial Experience with Transplantation of Lungs Recovered From Donors After Euthanasia, insisted that doctors were acting strictly within Belgian guidelines on euthanasia, which was legalised in 2002.
They reveal how ‘donors were admitted to the hospital a few hours before the planned euthanasia procedure’.
‘A central venous line was placed in a room adjacent to the operating room,’ said the report by D. Van Raemdonck et al, a team of surgeons from Leuven
‘Donors were heparinised [injected with an anticoagulant] immediately before a cocktail of drugs was given by the treating physician who agreed to perform the euthanasia.
‘The patient was announced dead on cardiorespiratory criteria by three independent physicians as required by Belgian legislation for every organ donor.
‘The deceased was then rapidly transferred, installed on the operating table, and intubated.’
Sounds like the sort of ‘quiet, dignified death’ the pro-euthanasia campaign are always telling us will be waiting for us when the law’s relaxed, doesn’t it?
The team found that the lungs were not traumatised by an ‘agonal’ phase seen in people killed by serious head injuries, the most common type of transplant donor.
Just think of the cold, calculating, dare I say clinical detachment necessary to write that sentence….
Dr Peter Saunders, of Care Not Killing, an umbrella group of more than 50 British medical, disability and religious charities opposed to euthanasia, said he was shocked by the report.
‘I was amazed at how nonchalantly the issue was dealt with as if killing patients and then harvesting their organs was the most natural thing in the world,’ he said.
People used to say the same of abortion. ‘Oh, no, it’ll always be the exception, never the rule!’ ‘No, of course it won’t become a substitute for contraception!’
‘Given that half of all euthanasia cases in Belgium are involuntary it must be only a matter of time before the organs are taken from patients who are euthanised without their consent.
‘The matter of fact way the retrieval process is described in the paper is particularly chilling and shows the degree of collaboration that is necessary between the euthanasia team and the transplant surgeons – prep them for theatre next to the operating room, then kill them and wheel them in for organ retrieval. All in a day’s work in Brave New Belgium.’
Quite. Next, ‘Solyent Green’..?
The report comes just a year after researchers found a high proportion of deaths classified as euthanasia in Belgium have involved patients who have not requested their lives to be ended by a doctor.
That slope gets steeper and steeper…