September
18
  12:29:08 AM

Dementia and euthanasia

tags:

Pat Robertson

I wish there were a handy word for the serendipitous coincidence of complementary news stories. The lead story this week is a minor flare-up over controversial remarks by televangelist Pat Robertson. On his television program he said that Alzheimer’s can be “a kind of death”. So final, in fact, that it might justify divorce and remarriage even for Christian evangelicals.

In the same issue we also report that the Dutch medical association, the KNMG, has issued a lengthy position paper on how doctors should respond to requests for euthanasia. Positively – that’s the nub of the guidelines. And this would be the case even if the request comes from someone who is demented or has a psychiatric condition.

The KNMG is particularly alert to the fact that 10% of the Netherlands will be frail and elderly in 10 years’ time. Some of those will have dementia, which the Dutch public believes is “one of society’s urgent problems, partly in view of the estimated numbers of people expected to be affected by this syndrome in decades to come, and based on the premise that dementia necessarily leads to a poor quality of life and an undignified death.”

Pat Robertson wasn’t sure whether his horror of living with a senile spouse was right and suggested that an ethicist should be called in. Many more people will be sharing his perplexity in the years ahead. It will be interesting to see whether the US and other countries will follow the lead of the Netherlands.



comments powered by Disqus
 

 Search BioEdge

 Subscribe to BioEdge newsletter
get posts by email or
rss Subscribe to BioEdge RSS feed

 Recent Posts
US report on CIA torture
14 Dec 2014
Lessons from Peru
6 Dec 2014
Looking for long-lost uncles
30 Nov 2014
The bioethical challenges of 2015
23 Nov 2014
A mystical side to suicide
15 Nov 2014

 Best of the web

 Tags
dementia, Thailand, genetic parentage, professional standards, Peru, Alzheimer's disease, female genital mutilation, population control, surrogacy, commercialization, ageing population, Philip Nitschke, IVF, assisted suicide, Switzerland, Belgium, USA, Australia, egg freezing, utilitarianism, Compassion & Choices, human rights, permanent vegetative state, bioethics, professional integrity, euthanasia, donor anonymity, music, genetic orphans, films,