Dutch doctors call politician's discrimination claim "campaign rhetoric"

The_Stethoscope,_Peru Alex Proimos Wikimedia commons

Statements by DENK leader Tunahan Kuzu suggesting that elderly people with an immigration background are discriminated against in the Dutch healthcare system, led to disbelief and outrage among medical practitioners in the Netherlands. "This clearly fits into the election campaign", Rene Heman, chairman of Dutch doctors federation KNMG, said to newspaper AD.

In a Facebook live stream event on Wednesday Kuzu said that various medial specialists told him that the plug is pulled more quickly for elderly people with a immigration background than for elderly without such a background. According to him, this has to do with the language barrier. "If a doctor gives instructions to blink your eyes and the patient does not understand this and therefore does not perform the task, they say that there is no sense anymore." he said.

On social media a number of medical specialists called Kuzu's allegations "nonsense", "criminal" and "simplistic", according to AD. And GeenPeil leader Jan Dijkgraa called on Kuzu to come up with evidence for his "disgusting words". 

"The suggestion of DENK leader Kuzu that doctors let sick elderly minorities die earlier is clearly in the election campaign", Heman said. "We definitely do not recognize the claims made. If DENK comes with actual proof, we will seriously look at this."

Heman adds that with "appropriate care" at the end of a life, doctors are very sure to take all different philosophies and beliefs into consideration. "Various Christian organizations and the Network of Organizations for Older Migrants are all involved in our report 'Not everything that can be done, should be done'. All this for a careful medical policy around the end of life", Heman said to the newspaper.

Elderly interest group ANBO agrees with the KNMG. "It's simply not as easy as just blinking your eyes", spokesperson Renee de Vries said to the newspaper. "Patients are well protected by protocols and these protocols make no distinctions on background."

A spokesperson for DENK told AD that Kuzu is "difficult to reach today" due to parliamentary debates.