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25% of all deaths in Netherlands in 2017 were killings of patients by doctors, at their own request - up from 12% in 2013. Most are dying in medically induced coma with the express purpose of killing the patient: unconscious for many days, with no food or water - so their hearts stop because of severe dehydration - 32,000 died this way in 2017.

Why so many are requesting euthanasia, and what it all means for future of health care. Comment by Dr Patrick Dixon, Futurist keynote speaker, advisor to global pharma companies and hospice-trained cancer physician.

"Expect many other EU nations to relax laws to allow euthanasia. In 20 years, euthanasia or mercy killing is likely to be the commonest cause of death in several nations, as deaths fall from cancer, heart attacks and strokes, and as chronic, incurable conditions such as Alzheimers become more dominant. Alzheimers is already the commonest cause of death in the UK, another nation where euthanasia is likely to be legalised in the next few years." "One of the great challenges is that pressures are growing on the elderly or frail to chose to end their days - they see others doing the same, they don't want to be a burden on their families, they may fear many years of mental decay, incontinence and so on."

"Meanwhile, as a result of improved general health and medical care, life expectancy in many developed nations has been steadily improving by around one year every four years. And we are finding ever-more exotic ways to keep people alive in a very marginal state, with little brain activity, severe mobility problems, double incontinence and so on. And it can feel sometimes that medicine has gone mad, losing common sense regarding quality of life, artificially prolonging life beyond all purpose, and feeding into arguments that euthanasia is a good idea."

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