By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
The Luxembourg euthanasia commission has released its semi-annual report stating that 15 people died by euthanasia in 2013 - 2014, which was a slight increase from 14 people who died by euthanasia in 2011 - 2012.
Luxembourg is a small European country, with a population of 537,000 and approximately 3850 people deaths each year.
The media article states that no abuse of the euthanasia law occurred but the system of reporting euthanasia deaths, in Luxembourg, is not designed to uncover abuse.
In Luxembourg euthanasia reports are sent to the commission by the doctor who lethally injected the person, after the person has died. Since doctors are unlikely to self-report abuse of the law, therefore it is impossible to determine whether or not abuse has occurred.
A recent death study from the Flanders region of Belgium was published in the NEJM on March 19, 2015 found that 1.7% of all deaths in 2013 were intentionally hastened without explicit request and almost half of the assisted deaths were unreported in 2013. A similar study from 2007 found that 1.8% of all deaths were hastened without explicit request and almost half of the assisted deaths went unreported.
The Belgian death study was done by sending questionnaires to the doctors who certified the death certificates in 6188 deaths in the first half of 2013. The researchers received 3751 responses. Since the researchers are third-party researchers who investigated all deaths, they were able to uncover abuse of the Belgian euthanasia law.
In 2008, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg refused to sign the euthanasia bill into law. The Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies reacted by removing his constitutional power.