March 28 (EIRNS)—Outrage is spreading in Spain over yesterday’s report in El Español, a national online daily, that a leading Dutch epidemiologist argues that the reason why Italian and Spanish health systems have been overwhelmed by COVID-19 is because they do not deny their older citizens access to intensive care units (ICUs), as the Netherlands does. El Español, as others, linked that epidemiologist’s advocacy of euthanasia to Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra’s demand that the Spain and Italy be investigated for overspending in the budgets.
Frits Rosendaal, head of Clinical Epidemiology at the Leiden University Medical Center, claimed that Dutch “cultural differences” are one reason they don’t have to worry about facing the same crisis as in Spain and Italy. “In Italy, ICU capacity is handled very differently. There they include people whom we would not include because they are too old. The elderly have a very different position in Italian culture,” Rosendaal ranted.
The secretary-general of the Pensioners and Retirees Association of Spain’s UGT national labor federation, Anatolio Díez Merino, responded with a blistering op-ed titled “Not That Way, Europe, Not That Way!”:
“Today we woke up with two pieces of good news in these coronavirus times: In Italy, a human being who is 106 years old left the ICU, and in Spain another of 84 years left the health center after overcoming the virus.” Their families, the health workers, and the citizens and media of both countries celebrated, Anatolio Díez wrote.
To them he contrasted Lieutenant Governor of Texas Dan Patrick, or the Netherlands’ Frits Rosendaal, who think that old people should get out of the way. Anatolio Díez compared that thinking to the Nazis, and linked it to Hoekstra’s attack on Spain and Italy. Europe of the north, he wrote, will let nothing hinder “the eagerness to accumulate the money of those who pay them.”
“We and our health workers are united to save lives.... To lose older people, is not simply to lose a person with ‘too many years;’ it is to lose experience, knowledge. It is to lose our living history,... to break the intergenerational chain of communication, the chain of life; and if we lose all this or we forget it, we will be burying years of struggle, of learning, of life experiences.”