(CNS News) A study published this month in the Journal of Medical Ethics examined the "deliberate" euthanasia of patients in Belgium without their explicit, voluntary consent as required by law.
The study's author, Raphael Cohen-Almagor, a professor of philosophy and ethics at the United Kingdom's Hull University, found that life-ending drugs were used "with the intention to shorten life and without explicit request" in 1.7 percent of all deaths in Belgium in 2013.
In 52.7 percent of these cases, the patients were 80 years of age or older. The decision to euthanize was not discussed with the patient in 77.9 percent of the cases because he/she was comatose, had dementia, or "because discussion would have been harmful to the patient's best interest," according to the study.
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Belgium passed the Euthanasia Act in 2002, which states that only voluntary euthanasia is legally permissible.