Go-ahead for world’s first mobile euthanasia unit that will allow patients to die at home

Via Daily Mail

The world?s first mobile team to administer euthanasia in patients? homes will be launched next month.

Units will be dispatched when family doctors refuse to administer lethal drugs on ?ethical? grounds.

They are expected to send the number of euthanasia cases in Holland soaring, with pro-campaigners claiming they will end the lives of an additional 1,000 patients a year.

Officially, 2,700 Dutch people a year choose assisted suicide, but critics say the real figure is far higher.

The launch of the first unit, which will consist of at least a doctor and a nurse, was confirmed on Radio Netherlands by the country?s Right to Die Association.

The group confirmed the unit in The Hague will be the first of six that will target borderline cases in which family GPs are reluctant to administer euthanasia.

It is likely to be used with mentally ill patients or those with early dementia, involving the patient?s GP only ‘if possible’, the association has said.

The group has previously claimed that 80 per cent of people with dementia or mental illnesses were being ‘missed’ by the country?s euthanasia laws.

But the Federation of Dutch Physicians fears the teams may end the lives of people who could be treated.

?In the worst cases, people could die who perhaps could have received some other help,? a spokesman said.

In Britain, Phyllis Bowman of Right to Life said she was ‘absolutely appalled’ by the development.

‘This is a real tragedy when you consider that in the Second World War the Dutch refused to implement the Nazi euthanasia programme.’

She added: ‘People here should be warned that if we allowed euthanasia they might have a mobile unit at their door at some time.’

The units, which are backed by the Dutch government, must conform to the 2002 law that made Holland the first country in the world to allow euthanasia since Nazi Germany.

Value of life: Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams said this week that it would be a ‘disaster’ if assisted suicide was legalised in Britain

This law stipulates that a person can only quality for euthanasia if their suffering is lasting and unbearable.

The units were first revealed by Health Minister Edith Schippers in the Dutch parliament late last year.

She said that units ‘for patients who meet the criteria for euthanasia but whose doctors are unwilling to carry it out’ was worthy of consideration.

In Holland, euthanasia is carried out by administering a strong sedative to put the patient in a coma, followed by a drug to stop breathing and cause death.

The Dutch government insists ‘the greatest care’ is taken to offer euthanasia only to patients ‘who are suffering unbearably with no prospect of improvement’.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said in a General Synod debate this week that it would be a ?disaster? if assisted suicide was legalised in Britain.

‘To change the law on this subject is, I believe, to change something vital in our sense of the value of life itself,’ he said.

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