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Doctors face prison after certifying a woman as autistic to give her a lethal injection

Pedro Marrero
Jan 16, 2019
11:43 A.M.
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Belgium’s liberal euthanasia laws are under fire following the case of three doctors accused of giving a woman a false diagnosis so she could opt for a lethal injection.

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38-year-old Tine Nys, from Sint-Niklaas, Flanders, died in April 2010, two months after being diagnosed with autism, but her sisters are taking legal action against doctors who allegedly didn’t follow regular procedures.

Tine’s sisters Lotte and Sophie say that the late woman was devastated over a failed romantic relationship and wanted to take her own life, so she “shopped” for a doctor willing to certify her as autistic to opt for euthanasia.

Because of the family’s denouncements, three doctors are set to go on trial, and the debate about euthanasia in the country is being revived. Read more on our Twitter account @amomama_usa

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According to the family, these health professionals didn’t act in obedience to the law, because their actions didn’t meet the criteria established for a mercy killing to be authorized.

The doctors in question have been charged with failing to comply with the legal conditions for euthanasia, in the first criminal trial involving legal euthanasia in Belgium since the country decriminalized this practice in 2002.

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Not only Tine didn’t receive treatment for her alleged condition before signing up for euthanasia, but also she had last undergone treatment for mental health problems fifteen years prior to her death.

Euthanasia detractors inside and outside the country are following the case and citing it as an example of the dangers of the legalization of euthanasia.

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In the UK, for instance, there’s a parliamentary group named “Living and Dying Well” which opposes to euthanasia and work to prevent its introduction in that country, and they are considering this case a negative precedent.

“What happens in Belgium has been held up by some as an example of good practice. This case calls into question all of those claims.”

-Lord Carlile, Daily Mail, November 24, 2018.

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Belgium has the world’s only law that allows terminally ill children suffering from unbearable conditions to end their own lives, and in 2016-2017, two children aged 9 and 11 became the youngest people in the world to be euthanized.

One of the children had a brain tumor, and the other was suffering from cystic fibrosis, as a July report from the CFCEE (the commission that regulates euthanasia in Belgium) revealed.

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Apart from Belgium, its neighbor the Netherlands is one of the most permissive countries’ in the world when it comes to euthanasia, and recent news coming from there have also shocked public opinion.

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Early in 2018, 29-year-old Aurelia Brouwers died at her home in the small town of Deventer after drinking prescribed medication in an assisted suicide, in accordance to the country’s 2002 Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide Act.

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Following years of battling with mental illness and after a long history of self-harm and suicide attempts, Brouwers was granted legal permission to receive euthanasia.

While some people disagree with a physically healthy young woman taking her own life, others supported her in her right to stop her suffering, since emotional pain can be as serious as physical pain.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.

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