Not so long ago we told you about a sentence, worrying to us at Steadfast, of the Dutch Supreme Court, which last April the 21st had pronounced in favour of a doctor who in 2016 had practiced euthanasia to a 74 year old woman, suffering from advanced dementia, residing at the nursing home where the doctor worked.
While the woman was still lucid, she had expressed her will not to end up in a nursing home and to receive euthanasia when she would give consent.
Now, that for the first time Marinou Arends, the Dutch doctor, has released her statement, the sentence seems even more chilling and incomprehensible to us.
The doctor says that the lady always complained about her condition and that she was always sad, rebellious and restless. It is this attitude that convinced her that the solution to alleviate her suffering was euthanasia, receiving the favorable opinion of the husband himself. But there’s a catch. In the living will, the woman specified that euthanasia should only be practiced upon her request, when she believed that the moment had come and that she should be in full possession of her faculties to request it.
However, this had no value for the doctor, believing that the task of a doctor was also to interpret a will.
Not only the elderly woman never asked for euthanasia, but she was asked three times by the doctor what she thought of being helped to die and she replied no that many. The lack of self confidence in pronouncing those words and, above all, the fact that they were in contrast with the woman’s past statements, further convinced the doctor to proceed with her choice to administer euthanasia.
On 22 April 2016, the horror occurred.
At the presence of her husband, daughter and son-in-law, the doctor drugged a coffee without the knowledge of the elderly woman, without telling her that she would soon die. While the woman was asleep and about to be given the first of the three lethal doses, she unexpectedly woke up and, realising what was going on, began to struggle to avoid death. It is with the help of the family members who immobilised her that the doctor could complete the procedure.
This absurd sentence that sees the doctor inexplicably acquitted, has not only legitimised euthanasia in Holland for those who are no longer able to express their will regarding the end of their life, thus overturning the precautionary principle, according to which, in the uncertainty, the choice must always be for life, never for death, but it has also removed the mask of self-determination and dignified death from euthanasia, here definitively dismantled.
Emmanuele Di Leo