Culture & Ethics Icon Culture & Ethics
Medicine Icon Medicine

As Leading Nation in the Culture of Death, Belgium Has Surpassed the Netherlands


Belgium has surpassed the Netherlands as the hastened death capital of the world.

A study out of Flanders in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that 18 percent of patient deaths come either from lethal injection/assisted suicide or from being put into a deep coma and left to die.

Recent Trends in Euthanasia and Other End-of-Life Practices in Belgium” reports that 6.3 percent of Flanders’ deaths involved “physician-assisted death.” This term was defined as lethal injection at the request of the patient (“euthanasia”), assisted suicide, or “death without explicit request.”

But there is more: A full 12 percent die from “full continuous deep sedation until death.” Palliative sedation is not the same thing, meaning most of this involves “terminal sedation,” putting in a coma and denied food and fluids until death, a form of beneath-the-surface euthanasia. (For more details, hit this link.)

The study also shows increased support for patient killing by doctors among physicians, patients, and families.

If the same percentages were applied to the United States, it would mean that roughly 150,000 would die yearly from euthanasia/assisted suicide (6 percent of 2.5 million annual deaths in the U.S.) — and a whopping 450,000 when terminal sedation was included.

Cross-posted at Human Exceptionalism.

Image: Bruges canal, by Jansena1 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.