President of Belgian health care agency calls for more euthanasia based on ‘quality of life’

assisted suicide, Dutch, physician-assisted suicide

The president of the Belgian health care fund Christian Mutualities (CM) has said that he believes euthanasia should be more readily available for aging people.

In an interview with Nieuwsblad, Luc Van Gorp argued against spending more money on resources for elderly or ill patients if he doesn’t believe those resources will improve the patient’s “quality of life.” Instead, he said he prefers “a radically different approach” in which the question should not be “how long can I live” but “how long can I live a quality life.”

Van Gorp believes once the “quality” of life is diminished, people should be offered a “gentle” euthanasia, noting that he doesn’t like the negative connotations of the word ‘suicide.’ “I would rather call it giving back life,” he said.

“Everyone wants their parents and grandparents to stay as long as possible, right? But do those people want that themselves? And what do they need for that?” Van Gorp said. “These questions are asked too little. Some people over 80 will not need anything at all to age well. They will even be able to support others, for example by keeping them company. Others need a lot of care, and – just to be clear – we must continue to provide it. But what about the category of elderly people who receive maximum care, but who still do not have the quality of life they desire? That question is asked far too little.”

Though some politicians appeared to agree with Van Gorp, at least one spoke out against the idea.

“This makes me angry,” Christian democrat leader Sammy Mahdi wrote on X. “If someone is tired of life and feels they are in the way or don’t get visitors anymore, aren’t we just failing as a society?”

Though Van Gorp champions the idea of a “gentle” euthanasia, evidence shows there is no such thing. A study published in the medical journal Anaesthesia found that a third of patients took 30 hours to die, while four percent took seven days to die a prolonged, painful death.

Furthermore, the drugs used for assisted suicide and euthanasia are primarily the same as those used in lethal injections. These drugs use a paralytic, which can mask the fact that the patient is actually suffering and essentially drowning to death. Botched death row executions offer a stark reminder that lethal injections are neither peaceful nor humane.

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