The Dutch courts and the Royal Dutch Medical Association KNMG established guidelines for physicians to follow in selecting patients for either assisted suicide or euthanasia: (1) voluntariness - patients request must be freely made, well-considered and persistent (2) unbearable suffering - patients suffering cannot be relieved by any other means, and (3) consultation - the attending physicians should consult with a colleague. If these guidelines were followed physicians would not be prosecuted. According to Dr. Herbert Hendin, American author of, "Seduced by Death", even these broad guidelines have been largely ignored, to the point were the doctors who help set euthanasia guidelines will privately admit that euthanasia in the Netherlands is basically out of control.In 1991, in an effort to come to grips with the actual medical practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide, the Dutch Government established a government commission, headed by Professor Jan Remmelink to study the problem. The Remmelink Report opened the eyes of both the people of the Netherlands and the world to the extent of the practice of euthanasia in Holland. Remmelink found that 49,000 of the 130,000 deaths in the Netherlands each year were not natural but involved a "medical decision at the end of life" or MDEL. 95% of these MDEL cases involve, in equal numbers, either withholding treatment/discontinuing life support or the alleviation of pain and symptoms through medication that might hasten death. This latter (alleviating pain and symptoms) category accounted for approx. 20,000 deaths that had been hastened by a physicians decision. Actual euthanasia, using the official Dutch definition, occurred in 2,300 cases or 2% of all Dutch deaths. Dutch physicians helped 400 patients who requested suicide, for either mental illness or discomfort, to kill themselves in 1990. The alarming statistics of the Remmelink Report indicate that in thousands of cases decisions that might or were intended to end a fully competent patient's life were made without consulting the patient.In 1996 a second report on euthanasia in Holland (for 1995) was published. In the interim the number of cases where a doctor had made a decision with the intention to hasten death without the patients express request had risen from 15% to almost 20% of the total annual mortality rate of the Netherlands. At the same time, the number of cases of euthanasia, using the narrow Dutch definition, rose from 2,300 to over 3000, a 30% increase in just 5 years.
Oh yeah and this article is by a citizen of the Netherlands.In 30 years Holland has moved from assisted suicide to euthanasia, from euthanasia of people who are terminally ill to euthanasia of those who are chronically ill, from euthanasia for physical illness to euthanasia for mental illness, from euthanasia for mental illness to euthanasia for psychological distress or mental suffering, and from voluntary euthanasia to involuntary euthanasia or as the Dutch prefer to call it "termination of the patient without explicit request".
Agree with him or not, Santorum isn't pulling this stuff out of his @$$.