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.