1/24/2013

The trivialization of euthanasia in Belgium

How Can We Accompany the Dying, and Those Who Suffer While Living Life? by Prof. Etienne Montero of the University of Namur, Belgium

Identical twins (monozygotic) Eddy and Marc Verbessem were born deaf. Inseparable and single, they had always lived together under the same roof. They were euthanized together at their request on Dec. 14, 2012, in the UZ Brussel (University hospital) in the borough of Jette. They were 45 years old.

Their request for euthanasia was based on a diagnosis of glaucoma, a degenerative condition of the optical nerve which can lead to blindness. According to our information (difficult to verify), they suffered from a genetic anomaly which would progressively but irremediably cause them to go blind. This, together with the idea of losing their independence, was unbearable for them.

The media presented this as a "first." There had never been a case of two brothers requesting and being granted joint euthanasia. There had, however, been instances of couples being euthanized together. Is this a case of infringement of the limits of the law on euthanasia?

Not necessarily. It is quite likely that all the conditions required by the law had been officially met. They no doubt made a voluntary and repeated request, free from any outside pressure. They based their case on an incurable medical condition and unbearable psychological suffering, stemming from the anticipation of future suffering linked to blindness and the loss of autonomy. As for the other necessary conditions, one may suppose that they were also met : various information to be provided, a second medical opinion to be sought, etc.

... Is this really the way in which society intends to deal with the distress and suffering of an ageing population or those who have become vulnerable due to illness or a handicap ?

See more at: ZENIT - 'Death Pact' and the Euthanasia of 45-Year-Old Twins

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