Euthanasia of alcoholic father sends 'dangerous' message

Credit: Oleg Golovnev via Shutterstock.
Credit: Oleg Golovnev via Shutterstock.

.- A doctor in the Netherlands performed euthanasia on a 41 year-old father of two who claimed his alcoholism had made his life unbearable.

 

Mark Langedijk, who also suffered from depression and anxiety, was found eligible for a controversial application of the euthanasia laws of the country.  

 

Langedijk was euthanized by his general physician in his home on July 14 of this year. His brother, Marcel, recently wrote about Mark’s decision to die in an article published in the Dutch magazine “Linda.”

 

Marcel wrote that Mark had a “happy childhood” and loving parents, but developed an addiction to alcohol eight years ago. Since then, he has been in and out of rehabilitation 21 different times.

 

Although his parents had been hopeful for a recovery, Mark declared that he wanted to end his life.

 

His application for euthanasia was approved by a doctor from the Support and Consultation on Euthanasia in the Netherlands. A 2000 law permits euthanasia in the country for people who are experiencing “unbearable suffering” that is considered incurable.

 

The extension of euthanasia to Mark was met with sharp criticism from many who said that he should have been offered treatment and support for his depression and anxiety, rather than suicide.

 

Fiona Bruce, a Conservative British MP, told the Daily Mail that Landedijk's death was "deeply concerning and yet another reason why assisted suicide and euthanasia must never be introduced into the UK".

 

“What someone suffering from alcoholism needs is support and treatment to get better from their addiction – which can be provided – not to be euthanized," she said.

 

“It is once again a troubling sign of how legalised euthanasia undermines in other countries the treatment and help the most vulnerable should receive.”

 

Robert Flello, a Labour MP and a Catholic, said: “Yet again Holland demonstrates it is a dangerous place to have any physical or mental illness, to be struggling with any life challenges, or just to differ from what they might call normal.”

 

“The state-authorised killing of their citizens is out of control and is, quite frankly, terrifying.”  

 

This case is not the first time the expansive assisted suicide and euthanasia laws of the Netherlands have come under fire. Earlier this year, many critics protested when a young woman in her 20s, who was suffering from PTSD and depression following sexual abuse, was euthanized.

 

Dr. Greg Bottaro, a clinical psychologist with the CatholicPsych Institute, told CNA at the time that the case sent a “devastating” message to other people struggling with mental illness.

 

“...by putting this out there in this public mindset, it calls into question even more the people who are in despair and it gives them greater reason to believe that it's worth giving up,” he said.

 

In May of this year, the Dutch government yet again came under fire when the health and justice ministers announced their intent to extend euthanasia to people who “have a well-considered opinion that their life is complete, must, under strict and careful criteria, be allowed to finish that life in a manner dignified for them.”

 

The option would be limited to “the elderly,” though the briefing did not define an age limit. The “completed life” extension is expected to go into effect in the Netherlands by the end of 2017.

 

The push for legal euthanasia and assisted suicide has increased in Western countries in the past few years. In June of this year, Canada legalized physician-assisted suicide, as did the states of California and Colorado, joining the states of Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont.

 

Also in June of this year, Pope Francis denounced physician-assisted suicide as part of a “throwaway culture” that offers a “false compassion” and treats a human person as a problem. Addressing medical professionals from Spain and Latin America at the Vatican, the Pope criticized “those who hide behind an alleged compassion to justify and approve the death of a patient.”

 

“True compassion does not marginalize anyone, nor does it humiliate and exclude – much less considers the disappearance of a person as a good thing.”

Tags: Euthanasia, Human rights

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