Friday, January 31, 2020

Belgium clears doctors in euthanasia death of a woman diagnosed as autistic.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Three Belgian doctors were prosecuted in the euthanasia death of Tine Nys (38). The family are convinced that Tine was diagnosed as autistic in order to approve her for euthanasia.

Tine Nys (center) with her sisters.
A jury in Belgium has cleared all three doctors in the euthanasia death of Tine Nys (38) who was diagnosed as autistic to qualify for euthanasia. Sadly, this is not surprising.

The Independent News reported:

Three Belgian doctors accused of murder for wrongly helping a woman end her life have been cleared by a court in a landmark case concerning euthanasia.

Relatives of Tine Nys, 38, who was given a lethal injection in April 2010, argued her death was unlawful as she wanted to die due to a failed relationship rather than an “incurable disorder” as required by Belgian law.
BBC News reported that one of the physicians was acquitted because the jury had "reasonable doubt":
The court ruled that in the case of Joris Van Hove, "there was reasonable doubt… and if there is reasonable doubt it is to the benefit of the accused"
A International Business Times article in November 2018, reported that the family believed that Tine was falsely diagnosed as Autistic so that she would qualify for euthanasia and that the law was broken because Tine never received treatment. The IBTimes reported:

Her sisters, however, told investigators that her suffering was caused by a broken heart after a failed relationship and not by autism. They also accused the doctors of making a rushed decision. They said the law was broken because Nys was never treated for autism and hence it had not been proven that she was suffering “unbearably and incurably.”
This was the first attempted prosecution for a Belgian euthanasia death. The attempted prosecution likely resulted in a slowed growth in Belgian euthanasia deaths. In January 2019, Europe's top human rights court agreed to hear the case of a depressed Belgian woman who died by euthanasia and in November 2018 three Belgian doctors were charged in the euthanasia death for psychiatric reasons. of Tine Nys.

In 2018 there were 57 (2.4%) of the euthanasia deaths were for mental or behavioral conditions, 83 (3.5%) for psychiatric reasons alone and 1% of the reported euthanasia deaths were incompetent people who had made a previous request. No children were reported to die by euthanasia in 2018.

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