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Thread: Santorum's Dutch death panels
February 24th, 2012, 10:39 PM #1
Santorum's Dutch death panels
The Maddow Blog - Santorum's Dutch death panels
"In the Netherlands, people wear different bracelets if they are elderly," Santorum said. "And the bracelet is: 'Do not euthanize me.' Because they have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands but half of the people who are euthanized -- 10% of all deaths in the Netherlands -- half of those people are euthanized involuntarily at hospitals because they are older and sick. And so elderly people in the Netherlands don't go to the hospital. They go to another country, because they are afraid, because of budget purposes, they will not come out of that hospital if they go in there with sickness."
This man is out of his mind !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The moral of the story: Rick Santorum, as part of his culture-war crusade, doesn't mind making stuff up. He makes outlandish claims in a sincere way -- Santorum actually seems to believe his own nonsense -- but that doesn't change the fact that the guy really has no idea what he's talking about.
And there's a larger truth here, too. As an extension of the fight over health care reform, the right desperately wants the public to fear the government, not just in general, but literally fear the possibility that bureaucrats might start killing innocent Americans -- just like those rascally Europeans.
February 24th, 2012, 11:17 PM #2I think freedom is losing. We are losing the ability to compromise on mutually exludable ideas. Our society has become one of right or wrong with no middle and we are going to pay large price for it.
February 24th, 2012, 11:58 PM #3
February 25th, 2012, 06:08 AM #4
What might he be "onto?" His own political suicide? :-)Never send to know for whom the bell tolls . . .
February 25th, 2012, 10:20 AM #5
He won't need any assistance for that.Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk. -- Henry David Thoreau
February 26th, 2012, 01:24 PM #6
February 26th, 2012, 02:46 PM #7
The guy is a total creep. That he has any measurable support is a sad statement about conservatism in the USA.
February 26th, 2012, 02:53 PM #8
Glenn Kessler, who does the Fact Checker feature at the Washington Post, has this today:“In the Netherlands, people wear different bracelets if they are elderly. And the bracelet is: ‘Do not euthanize me.’ Because they have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands but half of the people who are euthanized — ten percent of all deaths in the Netherlands — half of those people are enthanized involuntarily at hospitals because they are older and sick. And so elderly people in the Netherlands don’t go to the hospital. They go to another country, because they are afraid, because of budget purposes, they will not come out of that hospital if they go in there with sickness.”
— Former senator Rick Santorum, at the American Heartland Forum in Columbia, Missouri, Feb. 3, 2012
These were interesting remarks by one of the leading candidates for the GOP nomination. Though Santorum made this observation earlier in the month, a video of his comments only circulated on the web over the weekend and a number of readers asked whether he is correct. (His comments also spawned headlines in Holland, such as one that proclaimed: “Rick Santorum Thinks He Knows the Netherlands: Murder of the Elderly on a Grand Scale.”)
So we will check his statistics — 10 percent of all deaths in the Netherlands are from euthanasia and 50 percent of those die involuntarily — and also his claim that the elderly wear bracelets requesting that they not be euthanized.
(Full disclosure: The Fact Checker’s parents emigrated from Holland and I have direct, personal experience with the practice of euthanasia there. My father’s brother requested euthanasia when he was diagnosed with a terminal disease and after various remedies were ineffective. In the United States, he might have lived another two or three months, in great pain, and likely would have lapsed into a coma before death. But, after a conclusion by the Dutch medical establishment that he had no chance of survival, he arranged for his death at home with his family at his side. He even called me an hour before his death to say good-bye.)
We realize this is an emotional issue in the United States. But the simple facts, as Santorum described them, should be clear.
In 2001, The Netherlands became the first country to legalize euthanasia, setting forth a complex process. The law, which went into effect a year later, codified a practice that has been unofficially tolerated for many years.
Under the Dutch law, a doctor must diagnose the illness as incurable and the patient must have full control of his or her mental faculties. The patient must voluntarily and repeatedly request the procedure, and another doctor must provide a written opinion agreeing with the diagnosis. After the death, a commission made up of a doctor, a jurist and an ethical expert also are required to verify that the requirements for euthanasia have been met.
Late last year, in the first such case, a 64-year-old woman with advanced Alzheimer’s disease was euthanized, on the strength of her insisting for years that she wanted the procedure to be done.
Nevertheless, the statistics show it is still a relatively uncommon form of death. In 2010, the number of euthanasia cases reported to one of five special commissions was 3,136, according to their annual report. This was a 19 percent increase over 2009, but “this amounts to 2.3 percent of all 136,058 deaths in the Netherlands in 2010,” said Carla Bundy, spokeswoman for the Dutch embassy in Washington.
At the time of the annual report, the commissions had been able to reach conclusions in 2,667 euthanasia notifications reported to the agency and found only nine in which “the physician had not acted in accordance with the due care criteria,” the annual report said. More than 80 percent of the patients were suffering from cancer; almost 80 percent died at home.
A 2005 study by the New England Journal of Medicine found only a minimal number of the cases — 0.4 percent — in which there was an ending of life without explicit request by the patient. The study concluded the rate had actually been cut in half since the euthanasia law was passed.
These statistics were so at odds with Santorum’s claims that we wondered how he could have thought that 50 percent of the elderly were put to death involuntarily (or that 10 percent of all deaths in Holland were from euthanasia.) Spokesmen for Santorum did not respond to a query, but the best we can tell, he is grossly misinterpreting the results of a 1991 survey known as the Remmelink Report, which was influential in crafting the 2001 law.
The Remmelink Report found that 0.8 percent of the deaths at the time were done without the explicit request of the patient; in 59 percent of the cases, the physician had some information about the patient’s wish. “Life was shortened by between some hours and a week at most in 86 percent,” a summary of the report said. “In 83 percent the decision has been discussed with relatives and in 70 percent with a colleague. In nearly all cases, according to the physician, the patient was suffering unbearably, there was no chance of improvement, and palliative possibilities were exhausted.”
And what about those “Do Not Euthanize me” bracelets?
This also appears to be a strange misinterpretation of life in the Netherlands. We did find that a Web site known as Right Wing News last year published an article which asserted that “over 10,000 [Dutch] citizens carry ‘Do Not Euthanize Me’ cards in case they are ever admitted to a hospital unexpectedly.” The source was the Louisiana Right To Life Federation, which in turn cited no specific source except possibly the Nightingale Alliance, which opposes euthanasia. But this group does not appear to have published any actual figures.
In a letter to the British Medical Journal last year, a Dutch euthanasia specialist wrote that such cards do not exist. “What does exist is a living will (the levenswensverklaring), which is distributed by the Christian Dutch Patient Association,” in which people can “state that active life termination is not an acceptable option.” He wrote that it is unclear how many people completed such a living will.
“According to the Ministry of Health, ‘Do not euthanize me’ bracelets do not exist in the Netherlands,” said Bundy of the Dutch embassy. “In the Netherlands, there are indeed living wills, which are documents in which members can state their wishes regarding euthanasia.”
The Pinocchio Test
There appears to be not a shred of evidence to back up Santorum’s claims about euthanasia in the Netherlands. It is telling that his campaign did not even bother to defend his comments.
Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk. -- Henry David Thoreau
February 26th, 2012, 04:24 PM #9
February 26th, 2012, 09:08 PM #10
Dutch Puzzled by Santorum’s False Claim of Forced EuthanasiaThe Dutch Embassy in Washington declined to comment on Wednesday on recent remarks by Rick Santorum, the Republican presidential candidate, in which he claimed, falsely, that forced euthanasia accounts for 5 percent of all deaths in the Netherlands.
An embassy spokeswoman, Carla Bundy, explained that the Dutch government preferred not to intervene in an American political campaign. But Ms. Bundy did provide The Lede with documents and official statistics showing that there are no provisions of Dutch law that permit forced euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia, which has been legal since 2002, accounted for about 2 percent of deaths in the Netherlands in 2010.
As Jonathan Turley, a legal blogger, explained on Monday, the Dutch law permitting euthanasia is unambiguous about the requirement that it be voluntary, and lawmakers mandated that each case be carefully reviewed by an expert panel.It not only requires consent but a waiting period. If a doctor dispatches someone without their consent or satisfying the tight controls, he is charged with murder.According to a Dutch government report, experts who reviewed 2,667 requests for euthanasia in 2010 “found in nine cases that the physician had not acted in accordance with the due care criteria. In five of these cases, it was the way in which the euthanasia or assisted-suicide procedure was performed that was deemed not to comply with the criteria.”
The doctor must document that he or she confirmed that the patient requesting euthanasia or assisted suicide is making a voluntary and informed request. The record must also show that the patient was suffering unbearably and was fully informed about the prospects. Then a second doctor must examine the patient and supply a second written opinion on the satisfaction of the criteria.
As the Web site Buzzfeed reported, Mr. Santorum’s erroneous comments, made at a public forum hosted by the conservative leader James Dobson on Feb. 3, failed to attract much notice until they were fact-checked, and mocked, in the Dutch press last weekend.
Mr. Santorum’s remarks were not audible in video highlights of the “American Heartland” forum in Columbia, Miss., on his official YouTube channel — edited, music video style, to a driving rock beat. But his claims about the Netherlands were posted on YouTube by Right Wing Watch, a project of People for the American Way. That video showed Mr. Santorum claiming that elderly Dutch people wear a bracelet reading “Do not euthanize me.” Over audible gasps from the audience, he continued:Because they have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands, but half the people who are euthanized every year — and it’s 10 percent of all deaths for the Netherlands — half of those people are euthanized involuntarily, at hospitals, because they are older and sick. And so elderly people in the Netherlands don’t go to the hospital, they go to another country, because they’re afraid because of budget purposes that they will not come out of that hospital if they go into it with sickness.As Buzzfeed noted, Dutch journalists found it easy to refute Mr. Santorum’s statistics, and made fun of his “fact-free” claim that euthanasia was forced on anyone, but they had no idea where he got the idea that the nation’s elderly wear “Do not euthanize me” bracelets.
Ms. Bundy, the embassy spokeswoman, told The Washington Post, “According to the Ministry of Health, ‘Do not euthanize me’ bracelets do not exist in the Netherlands.”
Mr. Santorum’s campaign did not respond to a request to explain who or what the candidate’s sources were. Glenn Kessler, who writes The Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog, suggested on Wednesday that the candidate was repeating unsubstantiated rumors found online.A Web site known as Right Wing News last year published an article which asserted that “over 10,000 (Dutch) citizens carry ‘Do not euthanize me’ cards in case they are ever admitted to a hospital unexpectedly.” The source was the Louisiana Right to Life Federation, which in turn cited no specific source except possibly the Nightingale Alliance, which opposes euthanasia. But this group does not appear to have published any actual figures.At the end of his post, Mr. Turley, the legal blogger, concluded: “Putting aside these tiny factual disagreements, it is good to finally see a politician willing to take on our greatest threat: the Dutch. Dutch propagandists like Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh have already infiltrated our schools and museums. Our leaders (expect Santorum) are deaf to the growing sound of their wooden-shoe stomping, marzipan-eating hordes.”
In a letter to The British Medical Journal last year, a Dutch euthanasia specialist wrote that such cards do not exist. “What does exist is a living will (the levenswensverklaring), which is distributed by the Christian Dutch Patient Association,” in which people can “state that active life termination is not an acceptable option.” He wrote that it is unclear how many people had completed such a living will.Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk. -- Henry David Thoreau
February 27th, 2012, 10:16 AM #11
5% of all deaths works out to how many Elderly people euthanized? I guess we would have to know the Fraction that elderly people make up in the death statistics to fully blow santorum out of the water.
I like the plan the dutch have. I would probably even vote for it to be relaxed a bit. It seems like they restrict it to incurable fatal diseases. But there are probably a few instances where the cure is worse than the disease and one may not wish to endure it. Or where one could technically live under conditions they find intollerable . I.E. Paralysis, or being Deaf and blind. I might consider a life under such conditions intollerable and wish to end it. But from what I read they seem to focus on accelerating death only in conditions were painful Debilitating death was inevitable.
February 27th, 2012, 12:40 PM #12
Rick Santorum and the Anti Kitten-Burning Coalition
Fred Clark analyzes the belief system behind this canard:Burning kittens is wrong. It is cruel, it is illegal and it is, quite simply, evil. No one should burn kittens.
I am, unambiguously and without qualification, opposed to burning kittens. I am also confident that you are opposed to this too. And that latter point is why I cannot join the Anti Kitten-Burning Coalition.
The AKBC, again, is on the correct side of this issue. Its members, quite rightly, are vehemently opposed to something to which they ought to be vehemently opposed. But that isn’t what motivates them. What drives them, their central organizing principle, is the notion that they represent a beleaguered and controversial minority view. They imagine that their stance against burning kittens — sweet, adorable, innocent kittens — is something that separates and distinguishes them from most other people. They imagine that their opposition to burning kittens is a brave and exceptional stance that elevates them above most other people.
In other words, the central concern of the Anti Kitten-Burning Coalition is not a defense of kittens, but an accusation against most other people. They are not driven by their opposition to kitten-burning, but by their opposition to a make-believe faction of other people whom they imagine favor kitten-burning. That this vast bloc of pro kitten-burning people cannot be found and does not exist does nothing to dampen their enthusiastic campaign against these supposed monstrously cruel others. It is a delusion, but the AKBC enjoys this delusion.
This delusion gives their lives meaning and purpose. It makes their lives more exciting. And it enables them to bask in the idea that they are good and righteous people — or at least the possibility that they are better than some imagined faction of monstrously cruel other people.
This delusion has become a central defining trait of American politics. Imaginary monsters — other people who are imagined to favor kitten-burning or other monstrous cruelties — are a greater focus of American politics than jobs, taxes, highways and bridges, or environmental protection. Millions of votes are mobilized and cast based on the imaginary fear of an imaginary faction of kitten-burning monsters.
Here, for example, is Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, describing a nightmare of monstrous cruelty that he imagines is now taking place in the Netherlands:“In the Netherlands, people wear different bracelets if they are elderly,” Santorum said. “And the bracelet is: ‘Do not euthanize me.’ Because they have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands but half of the people who are euthanized — 10 percent of all deaths in the Netherlands — half of those people are euthanized involuntarily at hospitals because they are older and sick. And so elderly people in the Netherlands don’t go to the hospital. They go to another country, because they are afraid, because of budget purposes, they will not come out of that hospital if they go in there with sickness.”The happy truth, of course, is that this is all complete nonsense. Nothing like this is happening in the Netherlands. No such bracelets exist. Santorum’s nightmare is entirely false — it’s a fabricated delusion based on a fantasy apparently invented out of whole cloth by the Louisiana Right to Life Federation.
If you had any doubt about that, if you had for a moment perhaps feared that Santorum was telling the truth, then you will be pleased and relieved to learn that he was not. You will be happy to learn that Dutch hospitals are not killing off the terrified elderly because, rightly and understandably, you prefer to live in a world in which such horrible things are not happening.
That’s the difference between you and Sen. Santorum. You both agree that the scenario he described would be a Very Bad Thing. But for you that means you don’t want it to be true while for him that’s reason to wish it were. He believed this story and promoted this story because he wanted to believe it was true. He needed to believe it was true.
Rick Santorum wishes that he lived in a world in which horrible things like this were really happening. If you confront him with the facts and the evidence proving that his Netherlands nightmare is only the figment of a fevered imagination he would not be relieved to learn that this wasn’t true. He’d be defensive and angry, denying those facts and that evidence because he prefers the horrible fantasy.
Why? Why would anyone want such a thing to be true? Why would someone invent monsters and cling, desperately, to the idea of such monsters? Aren’t there enough real problems in the world demanding our attention?
I’ve been studying the Anti Kitten-Burning Coalition in its various incarnations for a long time now, and I have a few theories in answer to those questions.
February 27th, 2012, 12:45 PM #13Rick Santorum wishes that he lived in a world in which horrible things like this were really happening. If you confront him with the facts and the evidence proving that his Netherlands nightmare is only the figment of a fevered imagination he would not be relieved to learn that this wasn’t true. He’d be defensive and angry, denying those facts and that evidence because he prefers the horrible fantasy.
I believe that he would get defensive because he had been called out for being a dumbass. Not because he wants it to be true but for being sucked into what he believed was true.
He would be perfectly happy in a world where it never happened and he had not been mislead. At least that is the most likely scenario. Who knows what evil lurks in the minds of men.
February 27th, 2012, 12:58 PM #14
"he had not been mislead"
It seems he was not mislead since no one can find where he got his info from. It's a fantasy of his own making.“Religion: Together we can find the cure.”
February 27th, 2012, 01:23 PM #15
February 27th, 2012, 02:55 PM #16
I don't know If i want to read the whole thing.
You are saying that the article says that he actually enjoys the idea of humans suffering? The article cites some sort of facts in this regard?
February 27th, 2012, 04:11 PM #17
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