GP study into Dutch euthanasia requests
11 August 2005
A study of general practitioners in the Netherlands has examined the reasons why people ask for euthanasia in relation to the outcome of the requests.
It suggests that in 44% of cases, the request for euthanasia is carried out.
In 13% the request was agreed, but the patient died before it was carried through, and in another 13% the patient died before the decision making process was complete. Half of the 3,614 doctors surveyed received at least one request for euthanasia in the previous year.
There were more than 2,600 requests in all. In 12% of cases the doctor refused and in another 13% of cases the patient changed his or her mind.
The Dutch government says that there were 1,886 cases of euthanasia in total last year. [AP on myway, 8 August]
Mexico's Catholic bishops are asking the country's supreme court to stop the government from approving morning-after pills. They say the government "has not demonstrated that the morning-after pill is not abortifacient" and has "placed a weapon in peoples' hands for the killing of the innocent." Five government-party politicians are supporting the bishops' appeal against the placing of the drug in the official catalogue of medicines. [CNA on EWTN, 10 August]
The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, meeting in California, has pledged its "unequivocal support for the moral obligation to always provide normal care and ordinary means of medical treatment for all patients, especially the terminally ill and the physically and mentally disabled." The conference's communiqué said that: "nutrition and hydration (food and water), regardless of the method they are delivered to the patient, are to be given to everyone, even those in a persistent vegetative state and to withhold or withdraw them while still effective is completely immoral." The meeting also called for ethical stem cell research and condemned human embryo research. [CNA on EWTN, 10 August]
Life support has been withdrawn from a 26-year-old woman in Virginia, the day after her daughter was delivered by caesarean section. Mrs Susan Torres suffered a stroke in May after cancer spread to her brain, and she has been described as brain-dead. The Catholic church gave her the sacrament of the sick before life support was stopped. [AP on CNN, 3 August]
Scientists in Ohio have developed a drug which makes it easier to harvest bone marrow stem cells. NSC23766 inhibits the action of the RAC GTPase protein so that the cells can be made to move into the blood from which they are more easily extracted. The research has been performed by Cincinnati university and that city's children's hospital medical centre. [HealthDay News on Yahoo!, 8 August]