Belgium’s Bountiful Harvest – of Organs of Disabled People Killed Under Medical Supervision

From Michael Cook at Mercatornet, comes this newest development from Belgium.  Apparently, some doctors in that country are so excited about this that they put together a powerpoint presentation about the practice at a national conference:

A group of Belgian doctors are harvesting “high quality” organs from patients who have been euthanased. This is not a secret project, but one which they described openly at a conference organised by the Belgian Royal Medical Academy in December.

In a PowerPoint presentation, Dirk Ysebaert, Dirk Van Raemdonck, Michel Meurisse, of the University Hospitals Of Antwerp, Leuven And Liège, showed that about 20% of the 705 people who died through euthanasia (officially) in 2008 were suffering from neuromuscular disorders whose organs are relatively high quality for transplanting to other patients. This represents a useful pool of organs which could help to remedy a shortage of organs in Belgium (as everywhere else).

Though disturbing, this really isn’t surprising.  Truly terminally ill people – at the end of a deadly disease process – tend not to have usable organs (suitable for transplant).  Younger people with disabilities – spinal cord injury and neuromuscular conditions, for example – generally have organs that are healthy and suitable for transplant.

One has to wonder what kind of pressures – subtle or otherwise – will people with disabilities experience in Belgium as they are increasingly seen as viable donors, and maybe more “useful” dead than alive when their organs are seen as more valuable than they themselves are.  –Stephen Drake

h/t to Wesley Smith at Secondhand Smoke.

3 thoughts on “Belgium’s Bountiful Harvest – of Organs of Disabled People Killed Under Medical Supervision

  1. Is anything unimaginable?

    I refer the downcast to “The Role of a Pediatric Ethics Committee in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit”
    by Dr. M R Mercurio
    Authors and Disclosures
    Posted: 01/12/2011; J Perinatol. 2010;31(1):1-9. © 2010 Nature Publishing Group

    . . . which establishes an ethics for treating severly disabled babies.

  2. My ISP provider killed my first time attempt,by “timing out” so here goes the 2nd.

    I read this entry when it was posted and processing it. Yesterday, I got permission to tell the following without giving names.
    Some colleges in NYC are giving out organ donor cards via some arrangement made with administration
    approval and in arrangement with an organization for donor transplants. The person who I knew from a college needed a “crash course” in why it’s coercive even if not overtly, to present students with donor cards, even if “choice”. Students want to pass courses, stay in good graces of their school, etc. What do they even know about the organization? I convinced the person to decline participation, using all that I’ve learned on NDY about abuse in re organ donation.

    Early this week, I heard an interview on NPR (a station I generally avoid)with someone involved in the Frontline documentary on autopsies in the U.S. that was shown on tv this week. I started wondering about autopsies when my brother-in-law died in a nursing home in anther country a couple of months ago.
    What I was told when he died in his sleep, “probable heart attack.
    Quick cremation “under the circumstances”. I was too shocked during the call to ask “what circumstances?”.

    About autopsies in the U.S.:
    several decades ago about 40% of deaths in hospital were autopsied; now it’s about 4%. If you die at home or in a nursing home, it is
    assumed to be “from natural causes” and no autopsy. Seems to me, autopsies are a kind of watch to prevent abuse.

    I am also reminded of the scandal not too long ago, of nonprofit hospitals in arrangement with some organ group and funeral parlors, taking skin,an “organ” – the largest organ, eyes from people without family consent or knowledge and the huge profits from sale of these “harvests”.

    Stephen’s entry points up the vulnerability of the young people with disabilities. Some of those students being offered organ donor cards are disabled students.

    New meaning to doctors, in this case, “being tickled to death”
    (a phrase from my Brooklyn childhood) at such bountiful “harvest” of organs from murder.

    How often are our points of view as people with disabilities in the media, the courts…?

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