February 29, 2024

More breakthroughs in Belgium

Hi there,

Belgian surgeons have quietly announced that they have a new source for lung transplants – euthanased patients. Of course Belgium is a small country, but between 2007 and 2012, one in eight lung transplants came from patients who had donated them after voluntary euthanasia.

From a pragmatic point of view, it makes good sense. It must be easier to plan out the operation and the lungs will be healthy. Of the six patients who were killed by their doctors, 3 suffered from severe neuromuscular disease (presumably ALS or motor neurone disease) and 3 from a “neuropsychiatric disorder”, presumably depression or schizophrenia.

However, pragmatic considerations are not necessarily the only ones to be considered when lives are at stake. Is it really ethical to kill a patient for his organs? However rosy a picture the doctors paint of this procedure, this is what it amounts to. Another article below points out that it is possible to implant false memories in people’s minds. Surely it is possible to implant a desire to make an altruistic donation in a sick patient.

This is a significant development. It shows that if euthanasia is legalised, there will – almost inevitably – be abuses, sanctioned, of course, by ethics committees and the government. The human body is a valuable commodity; doctors are bound to think that it would be a crime to let it go to waste. 

Michael Cook
Belgian surgeons have a new source of organs — euthanased patients.