19th Jan 20
Belgian Doctors Face Trial in Country's First Euthanasia Case
Dr KK Aggarwal
President CMAAO, HCFI and Past National President IMA
Three Belgian doctors go on trial for murder for helping a woman end her life.
The doctors, are accused of unlawfully poisoning 38-year-old Tine Nys on April 27, 2010.
They are the first doctors to go on trial for euthanasia in Belgium since the country legalized the practice in 2002.
Nys's parents and sisters, who were present at her death, complained that the euthanasia was carried out in an amateurish manner and that Nys did not have an incurable mental disorder, a key condition for granting euthanasia.
Belgian law allows adults to request the right to die on condition that they are facing unbearable physical or mental suffering resulting from a serious and incurable disorder. It was extended to terminally ill children in 2014.
Most patients choosing medically assisted death have terminal cancer, but mental suffering has extended, for example, to twins born deaf and becoming blind who are unable to bear not being able to see or hear each other.
In neighboring the Netherlands, where euthanasia is also legal, a doctor was acquitted in a trial in September after being accused of failing to secure proper consent from a woman who had Alzheimer's.