Monday, July 1, 2013

Belgium's Disturbing Take on Alzheimer's

The Wall Street Journal HERE reports on Belgium's easy euthanasia. Two 43 year old twins died together. Here is how the Journal described their death.

On Dec. 14, Marc and Eddy, after a long legal and medical journey,
met their doctors and family in a Brussels hospital, according to their doctor.
They enjoyed a final cup of  coffee and lay down in adjoining beds,
where a chaplain said a prayer. Then they waved to their family,
pointed up as if to say "see you on the other side,"
received their injections, and were gone.

What was their illness? The identical twins were deaf and were facing blindness from a genetic disorder. It turns out this is legal, not only in Belgium, but also in Luxembourg and Netherlands. France is considering euthanasia and Switzerland allows assisted suicide. In the USA the states of Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington allow assisted suicide where the patient himself administers the lethal dose.

It turns out the Belgium parliament is considering another bill on Alzheimer's according to that Journal article.

Another bill would let patients with early Alzheimer's sign
a declaration asking to have their life ended when a doctor
concludes they're no longer interacting with the outside
world, even if they seem vigorous and happy at the time.
Now, patients must be lucid to request euthanasia,
which is generally carried out soon after.

Can't you just see where this is going?! My husband takes the pills I give him, but under no circumstances do I want to let him give himself a lethal dose or his doctor for that matter. I want him alive as long as the LORD wills. At one point Hospice may need to be called in, but that is pallative care which is a whole different subject. 

The Journal reports furthermore that a lovely 72 year old lady in Belgium, Gerda Windgasse, has beginning Alzheimer's as my husband does. Her first doctor wouldn't allow euthanasia because of Gerda's Catholic beliefs. She changed doctors. Her new doctor, Peter De Deyn, says that he has euthanized about 20 dementia patients. Gerda's husband says "It's out of love for her that I couldn't stand the full decline of her personality."

As a woman of faith I see huge problems with Belgium's new laws.
  1. Thou shalt not kill means suicide in my book. It is murder.
  2. The LORD choses the time of our death.
  3. Suffering has meaning.
  4. Caregiving has meaning.
  5. Others can come alongside and share the load of the care receiver and the caregiver.
  6. I married in sickness and in health, for better for worse until death do us part.
I love the example of my care receiver husband who lives one day at a time. Sure I look to the future and what our needs might be, but I also live one day at a time.

The world is a better place because of Helen Keller, both deft and blind. The world is a better place because of Joni Eareckson Tada, gifted author, speaker and artist.  But this world is not all. We have this life as a preparation for heaven.

1 comment:

  1. You make incredibly important points here. I've waffled on this issue somewhat after seeing loved ones in pain, but I cannot imagine how broad euthanasia is being applied. Tragic.