Now Euthanasia for a Woman Who Could Not Cope with Being Blind

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Caldwell

MEDICS have killed a woman by lethal injection because she could not cope with becoming blind.

In one of the first cases of euthanasia for a disability, the 70-year-old was deemed by doctors to be 'suffering unbearably'.

They granted her wish to die after she had previously tried to commit suicide several times.

But pro-life campaigners said the case showed how euthanasia and assisted suicide for more trivial reasons can soon become the 'norm' in countries where it is legal.

They insisted it was medical negligence for the doctors in Holland to have gone along with the woman's suicidal ideas and said they should have found a way to manage her psychological problems.

The unnamed woman had been born with poor eyesight which had deteriorated into blindness as she entered old age. She had lived alone since her husband died.

Health specialist Lia Bruin told a Dutch newspaper that the case was 'exceptional'. 'She was, for example, obsessed by cleanliness and could not stand being unable to see spots on her clothes,' Bruin said.

In neighbouring Belgium, deaf twins Marc and Eddy Verbessem, 45, were granted their wish to be killed last December after they learned they were likely to become blind.

Anthony Ozimic of anti-euthanasia lobbyists SPUC Pro-Life, said the cases illustrated the dangers that would threaten vulnerable people in Britain if Lord Falconer's assisted suicide bill became law.

'Wherever euthanasia or assisted suicide has been allowed, so-called "exceptional circumstances" are quickly becoming the norm and the criteria for death are expanding,' he said.

'Millions of people around the world are blind, yet these doctors in their callous arrogance have deemed that at least some blind people should be killed rather than treated.' Holland became the first country in the world since Nazi Germany to legalise euthanasia when in 2002 it approved doctor-administered lethal drugs for terminally ill people facing unbearable suffering.

Two doctors must first decide that the patient is afflicted by 'unbearable suffering' from which he or she has no realistic prospect of recovery.

The patient must also be able to make a conscious and autonomous decision about ending their lives by lethal injection.

The woman's death comes just weeks after it emerged that deaths by eutha-nasia have hit a record high in Holland, with nearly one in seven now dying at the hands of their doctors. …