Columnist Mounts Unfair Attack on Euthanasia in Netherlands

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 16, 2002 | Go to article overview

Columnist Mounts Unfair Attack on Euthanasia in Netherlands


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

I feel obliged to respond to Maggie Gallagher's April 6 Commentary column, "Probing the practice of assisted suicide," in which she expresses her views regarding assisted suicide and comments on the euthanasia law in the Netherlands.

She makes the unsubstantiated and tendentious statement, "One Dutch woman with breast cancer who said she did not want to die was killed anyway because in the doctor's words 'it could have taken another week before she died. I just needed this bed.'"

I find this "quote" offensive, and unless Miss Gallagher is able to provide specific details about the case, I suggest that she refrain from "quoting" anonymous patients and doctors.

In spite of continued progress in palliative care, euthanasia is a regular, albeit hidden, occurrence in many countries other than the Netherlands (including the United States). To understand this issue fully in the Dutch setting, it is important to comprehend the social context and health care environment in the Netherlands.

Everyone in the Netherlands has health insurance. Advanced health care, including palliative care, is available to everyone. …

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