This is outrageous! American GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, the guy that always plays the devout Christian card, is telling blatant lies here in this video about euthanasia in the Netherlands:
EVERYTHING he claims here, is false!
(1) unlike he claims, there is no such thing as involuntary euthanasia in the Netherlands, let alone that “half of the cases” would be such. Laws on euthanasia are very strict here (see below) and euthanasia without consent of the patient does simply not happen as by law that would be murder. Let me repeat that: it simply does not happen and his claim for “half of the cases” being “involuntary” has no ground whatsoever in any facts. It is simply a lie;
(2) Euthanasia accounts for about 1-2% of deaths, not 10% as he claims. Out of 134235 deaths in our country (on a total pop. of 16.7 million living) in 2009 (source: Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics), 2500 were cases of euthanasia. In 2010 there were 3136 cases (source: Dutch Commission on Euthanasia)
(3) In all cases, it is done on the explicit request of the patient himself or herself, whom in all cases are already terminally ill, and it must abide by very strict rules (amongst others, the patient must be terminally ill and unbearably suffering, he or she must explicitly and repeatedly request it and be of sane mind while doing so, and at least two doctors have to approve after examining the case in question).
(4) each case of euthanasia in the Netherlands has to be reported to the authorities, and is investigated to see whether it complied to the law. It is not something done ligth-heartedly at all. Doctors who perform euthanasia will be prosecuted unless they can demonstrate that they observed the conditions. Cases that fail to comply the law (usually on technicalities) or were not properly reported, are prosecuted as murder: there were 9 such cases in 2010. Please note: none of these concerned people euthanized against their will. It concerned cases were the law was not strictly followed to the letter (e.g. where no second doctor was involved in the procedure).
(5) It is simply not true that the elderly in our country wear bracelets with “do not euthanize”. Again, that is completely made up, it has no ground in any facts whatsoever (see edit below - there is a small group of fundamentalist Christians carrying such declarations for purely political (anti-euthanasia) motives) and the image painted in this by Santorum is completely preposterous. Nobody in the Netherlands is euthanized unless it is their own explicit will;
(6) Likewise, the elderly do not go abroad for hospital visits “because they are afraid to be euthanized”. Again, that is completely made up, it too has no ground in any facts whatsoever;
So: do not believe this Santorum guy! He is hoaxing you with made-up “facts” here, telling lies about what happens in my country in order to further his personal political agenda. DO NOT VOTE FOR SUCH A LIAR. He will lie to you as well when he would be President.
And take his devout “Christianity” with a grain of salt. The Bible says “thou shall not bear false witness” in the 10 commandments, which is however exactly the thing our “devout Christian” is doing here. Hypocrit!
EDIT 19/02/2012: Last night, while still foaming in rage about this idiot, I realized what might be the source of his “bracelet” fable, and it would be hilarious were it not that the matter is too serious for that.
“Bracelets”: In one Dutch hospital, a test is being done where patients who have a history of multiple heartfailure etc. and who have been brought back by means of CPR multiple times, and have themselves indicated a wish that next time they do not want to be resuscitated, wear a bracelet with the text “DO NOT RESUSCITATE ME”. That is of course the absolute opposite message of what Santorum claims. Similar projects also run in the US.
“Do not euthanize me cards”: Also, one MoH member put me on the trail of the apparent source of a similar idea that “the elderly” carry cards with “do not euthanize me”. It turns out that the source of that is the NPV.
The NPV is a Dutch Christian Patient platform that operates from a strict Biblical view, and as such certainly not representative of the (largely secular) Dutch population. They oppose euthanasia and abortion, and for political reasons push this kind of declaration among their members, even if these declarations are complete nonsense as they play on fears that simply are unfounded (they might as well push carrying declarations of “Aliens, please do not anally probe me”. That would be about just as realistic with regard to the actual situation in the Netherlands).
I looked up the actual figures again: the NPV claims that 7000 of their members carry such a card. There are 2.5 million people older than 65 years in our country, so those 7000 (assuming they are all >65 years) translate to 0.3% of our elderly population and 0.04% of our general population. And again: the people carrying these cards do so out of a political motivation (they are Christians who oppose the legalization of euthanasia), not because they would otherwise be in real danger of being euthanized against their will. So this whole issue is a fundamentalist Christian set-up.