Nurses quit ‘houses of euthanasia’

Euthanasia has been legal in Belgium for more than 15 years (Bigstock)

Belgian nurses and social workers who specialise in treating dying patients are quitting their jobs because palliative care units are being turned into “houses of euthanasia”, a senior doctor has alleged. Source: Catholic Herald.

Increasing numbers of hospital staff employed in the palliative care sector are abandoning their posts because they did not wish to be reduced to preparing “patients and their families for lethal injections”, according to Benoit Beuselinck, a consultant oncologist of the Catholic University Hospitals of Leuven.

He said that after more than 15 years of legal euthanasia in Belgium “palliative care units are … at risk of becoming ‘houses of euthanasia’, which is the opposite of what they were meant to be”.

Professor Beuselinck said palliative care nurses found the demands for euthanasia an “impossible burden” and a “complete contradiction of their initial desire to administer genuine palliative care to terminally ill patients”.

“Some Belgian palliative care units that have opened their doors to patients requesting euthanasia have seen nurses and social workers leaving the unit because they were disappointed that they could no longer offer palliative care to their patients in an appropriate way,” he continued.

“They were upset that their function was reduced to preparing patients and their families for lethal injections.”

The comments of Professor Beuselinck came in an essay for a new book, Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Lessons from Belgium.

His contribution is one of a number of a highly critical analyses of how legal euthanasia has corrupted Belgian medicine by undermining palliative care and by putting patients in lethal danger.

As euthanasia has become a “normal way of dying”, he said, he has encountered some cancer patients afraid to go hospital in case they are either coerced into euthanasia or are deliberately killed without their consent.

He said he was convinced that euthanasia was a “genuine threat to the practice of medicine” and complained that the rights of medical professionals and healthcare institutions to object were insufficiently protected.

As a result, hospital doctors evaded requests for euthanasia by referring them to the palliative care unit, “thinking that the doctors in the unit are used to dealing with end of life issues”, he said.


Palliative care nurses quit ‘houses of euthanasia’ (Catholic Herald)

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