George Washington Couldn't Lie and Rick Santorum Can't Tell the Truth

Feb 25 2012 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party

Earlier this month, Santorum joined fellow far right doozie, James Dobson and brought up the subject of euthanasia at the American Heartland Forum. “They have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands, but half the people who are euthanized every year, and it’s 10 percent of all deaths, half of those people are euthanized involuntarily in hospitals, because they are older and sick,” Santorum said. “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 they will not come out of that hospital if they go in with sickness.” He said many elderly Dutch wear bracelets saying “Don’t euthanize me.”

A little truth-seeking, Maestro…

Let’s see where Santorum got the core accusation of his Euthansia ramblings…that half of the hospital euthanizations were ‘involutary’. The origins of that estimate appear to come from a 1997 Internet article at www.answersingenises.com.  This group defines themselves as ‘apologetics or Christianity defenders. They claim that in all matters, the bible is the only reference worth considering, especially when it comes to creation and evolution. Here is the paragraph from the ‘answers in Genesis’ site that Santorum or one of his staffers apparently stumbled upon:

What are the consequences of accepting euthanasia? According to a Dutch study investigating the effects in Holland, where euthanasia is tolerated while not strictly legal (legalization didn’t come along until 2002) it was found that in a single year there were more than 2,700 reported euthanasia deaths. Over 50% of these were involuntary, i.e. the patient was not given a choice.”

Year of the study? Sometime in 1991 basically covering the years from 1986-1989. I’ve read the study, going back as far as over a quarter of a century ago. It’s a legitimate study with respected researchers, G. van der Wal and R.J. Dillman and was published in the equally-respected medical journal The Lancet.

The numbers are hugely misleading without context. Patients who were euthanized were almost all terminally ill with 83% of their number having less than a month to life, 58%, less than a week. Cancer was present in 85% of euthanized patients. In roughly 6 out of 10 ‘involuntary’ euthanizations, patients had earlier expressed the wish to be euthanized, but had not made an explicit request. Most of them, when they reached the end-stage of their life, were unable to make such a request. So, they were not euthanized against their will. In 88% of the remaining cases final consultation was not possible as well because the patient was either comatose or unaware of his or her surroundings and incompetent to make such a decision. Family members and docs huddled together; agreed there was no conscious quality of life and the patient was mercifully euthanized…I suppose technically, involuntarily.

Unlike Santorum’s implication that members of the Dutch medical establishment were ardent killers, the study indicated that there were three times as many patient requests for euthanasia as there were procedures carried out. The patient changed his or her mind, the doctor refused the request or the patient simply got better.

That 50% of all euthanizations are involuntary is a 100% lie.

Updating his other claims from numerous sources; only about 1-2% of modern-day patients are euthanized; nowhere near his 10% fairy tale number. Those patient who are euthanized must be in possession of enough faculties to repeatedly give their consent and the family apparently now has now no say in the matter. Furthermore, TWO doctors have to OK the procedure.

Rachel Maddow had a Dutch reporter on her show who said Santorum’s statements fell somewhere between funny and insulting.  “Nothing of what he said is true”, the reporter declared. Nobody can find a scintilla of evidence that “Don’t euthanize” bracelets exist.

A clever Dutch blogger, “The Daily Greg” wrote with tongue clearly in cheek, that Dutch citizens were demanding to know where they could obtain such bracelets. He requested that Santorum, quote, “…provide the bracelets himself, since he clearly knows so much about them.”

One final question – “what is that substance coming out of that Bull’s hindquarters? Why it’s Rick Santorum’s latest public utterance.

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