By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
The Journal of Medical Ethics recently published a research article that is written by Raphael Cohen-Almagor, a human rights activist and Chair of the Politics department at the University of Hull.
The article: First do no harm intentional shortening lives of patients without their explicit request in Belgium focuses on published data concerning the practise of causing death without patient request in Belgium and it also focuses on the policy of the Belgian Society of Intensive Care Medicine Council concerning the administration of sedative agents with the direct intention of shortening life.
Cohen-Almagor examines the Belgian research from the years 1998, 2001, 2007 and 2013. Whereas a basic examination of the research would suggest that the percentage of hastened deaths without explicit request has lowered, the reality indicates that the practise remains common resulting in over 1000 hastened deaths without request each year.
For instance, in 1998, 4 years before euthanasia was legalised in Belgium, research indicates that 3.2% of all deaths were hastened without request while a similar studies in 2007 found that 1.8% of all deaths and in 2013 - 1.7% of all deaths were hastened without explicit.
In December 2012 I published my book - Exposing Vulnerable People to Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, that examined much of this data, even though Cohen-Almagor also examines newer data.