Tag Archives: Belgium

Improper legal killing? Belgium launches first criminal investigation of euthanasia case

Try and process this statement: “Among Belgians euthanised for mental health reasons, the most common conditions are depression, personality disorder and Asperger’s.”

From The Guardian: Belgian officials are investigating whether doctors improperly euthanised a woman with autism, the first criminal investigation in a euthanasia case since the practice was legalised in 2002.

Three doctors from East Flanders are being investigated on suspicion of having “poisoned” Tine Nys in 2010. The 38-year-old had been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism, two months before she died in an apparently legal killing by a doctor.

Belgium is one of two countries, along with the Netherlands, where euthanasia of people for psychiatric reasons is allowed if they can prove they have “unbearable and untreatable” suffering.

Among Belgians euthanised for mental health reasons, the most common conditions are depression, personality disorder and Asperger’s. Many experts – in Belgium and beyond– dispute whether autism should be considered a valid reason to be killed.

Last year, the Associated Press reported that after Nys’ family filed a criminal complaint, alleging numerous “irregularities” in her death, her doctors attempted to block the investigation.

“We must try to stop these people,” wrote Dr. Lieve Thienpont, the psychiatrist who approved Nys’ request to die – and one of the doctors now facing charges. “It is a seriously dysfunctional, wounded, traumatised family with very little empathy and respect for others,” the message read.

Sophie Nys, one of Tine’s sisters, told the AP that the doctor who performed the euthanasia asked her parents to hold the needle in place while he administered the fatal injection, among other fumbling efforts. Afterwards, the doctor asked the family to use a stethoscope to confirm that Tine’s heart had stopped.

Belgium’s chamber of indictment “presumes that there are sufficient indications in this particular case” and the doctors involved have been referred to the court of assize in Ghent. They will now face trial “due to poisoning”, said Francis Clarysse, a Ghent prosecutor.

Concerns have previously been raised about whether Thienpont, Nys’ psychiatrist, too easily approved euthanasia requests from patients with mental illness.

The AP previously published documents revealing a rift between Thienpont and Dr. Wim Distelmans, who heads Belgium’s euthanasia review commission. Distelmans voiced fears that Thienpont and colleagues may have failed to meet certain legal requirements in some euthanasia cases – and wrote that he would no longer accept referred patients from Thienpont.

In the 15 years since doctors were granted the right to legally kill patients, more than 10,000 people have been euthanised. Only one case has previously been referred to prosecutors; that case was later dropped.

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h/t Red State

DCG

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Meet Belgium's new Minister of Health!

Among several dictionary definitions of the word “irony” are these:

5. an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.
6. the incongruity of this.

Two days ago, on Oct. 11, 2014, at the Royal Palace in Brussels, Maggie De Block was sworn in as Belgium’s new Minister of Social Affairs and Health.

Maggie de Block, Health Minister

Maggie de Block, Health Minister


Oh, the irony. The irony.
Belgium’s new center-right government took office on Saturday, promising to raise the retirement age and slash costs by about 8 billion euros ($10 billion) to balance the national budget by 2018 and cut the country’s debt. (Source: Reuters)
52-year-old De Block entered politics in 1999 when she was elected a member of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives for the electoral district Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde.
She had studied medicine at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and was a general practitioner for 25 years.
Double the irony!
H/t RebelMouse
~Eowyn

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Belgium's culture of death: Doctor Kills Depressed Woman in Euthanasia, Doesn’t Tell Family Until Next Day

angel
LifeSiteNews: Alliance Defending Freedom filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights Wednesday on behalf of Tom Mortier, who is challenging Belgium’s laws that allow euthanasia. Mortier’s mother was put to death by a doctor for “untreatable depression” even though she was not terminally ill. Mortier did not find out what had happened until he received a telephone call the day after her death.

“The government has an obligation to protect life, not assist in promoting death,” said ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Robert Clarke. “A person can claim that she should be able to do whatever she pleases, but that does not override the government’s responsibility to protect the weak and vulnerable. We are encouraging the European Court to uphold this principle, which is completely consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights.”

godelieva2Oncologist Wim Distelmans killed Godelieva De Troyer, a Belgium citizen who was not terminally ill, because of “untreatable depression” in April 2012 after receiving consent from three other physicians who had no previous involvement with her care. De Troyer’s doctor of more than 20 years had denied her request to be euthanized in September 2011, but after a 2,500 EUR donation to Life End Information Forum, an organization co-founded by Distelmans, he carried out her request to die because of the depression. The donation gives rise to an apparent conflict of interest.
No one contacted Mortier before his mother’s death despite the fact that he says her depression was not only largely the result of a break-up with a man, but also due to her feelings of distance from her family.
Distelmans has no psychiatric qualifications, and none of the doctors involved had any enduring doctor-patient relationship with De Troyer. In addition, the commission the government established to investigate any failure to observe the euthanasia law has been led, since its creation, by Distelmans. Despite evidence of widespread abuse of the law, the commission has never referred a case to the prosecutor.
As the ADF application explains, “The institutions of the Council of Europe have shown consistent opposition to the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia…. [T]he only positive duty on a State is the positive duty to protect life.”
The application argues that Belgium’s law, which now allows children to be killed as well, has gone too far:

“the balance has shifted unacceptably in favour of personal autonomy at the expense of the important public interest and a State’s obligation under Article 2 (the right to life).”

“People suffering from depression need compassion and love, not a prescription for death,” said ADF Senior Counsel Roger Kiska. “The state has a duty to put the necessary safeguards in place so that suffering patients receive adequate care from doctors and an opportunity to consult with family members.”

ADF is also involved at the ECHR in defending Switzerland’s denial of suicide drugs to a woman who does not suffer from any fatal disease. That case, Gross v. Switzerland, is very similar to a previous case, Haas v. Switzerland, in which the ECHR in 2011 unanimously rejected the claim that Switzerland had an obligation to assist individuals in committing suicide.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organisation that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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DCG

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Belgian Doctor Refuses to Treat Elderly Jewish Woman

no jews
Israel National News: A Flemish doctor who manned a medical hotline Wednesday night refused to provide help to a 90-year-old Jewish woman, Bertha Klein, who had suffered a fractured rib. “I’m not coming!” he said. “Send her to Gaza for a few hours, and she will not feel the pain anymore,” was the reply.
The doctor confirmed the exchange, and said that he had spoken the way he did out of “emotional frenzy.” The Health Ministry is investigating the matter, according to Joods Actueel (Jewish News).
Klein’s son had been the one to call the hotline. His mother was in agonizing pain after she had suffered a fractured rib. The doctor reportedly knew very quickly that the patient was Jewish: her name, her son’s accent and her address in Antwerp, Belgium’s second-largest Jewish commmunity, betrayed all that.
Shocked by the doctor’s response, the family phoned a friend, Samuel Markowitz, who is an alderman of the Antwerp district council and a volunteer paramedic. Markowitz called the hotline himself and confronted the doctor over his statements.
The doctor admitted the facts and blamed “emotional frenzy.” Meanwhile, the grandson of the 90-year-old woman, Hershy Taffel, filed a complaint with the police for racism and xenophobia.
Taffel says  his grandmother burst into tears. “This reminds me of what we underwent in Europe 70 years ago, I never thought that day would ever be repeated,” she said.
Michael Freilich, editor of Joods Actueel, is concerned that the Middle East conflict is being imported into Belgium.
“This is yet another incident in a row of similar events that took place in a short period of time,” he elabotared. A shop in Antwerp refused to serve a woman because she was Jewish, a cafe in Liege has a sign hung with the message ‘dogs welcome, Jews are not’, in Brussels slogans like ‘Death to the Jews’ were chanted during a demonstration and on Facebook, we see calls of hatred against the Jewish people every day.”
Freilich went on to tell his readers: “Let me repeat for the umpteenth time: Belgian Jews are NOT Israelis! They merely have an emotional bond with that country but have no influence on the conflict. They do not vote in Israel, do not go to the army and pay no taxes there.
He added: “Any form of racism and anti-Semitism must be condemned by politicians vigorously. It’s long overdue, I think.”
DCG

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Five people killed EVERY DAY by assisted suicide in Belgium as euthanasia cases soar by 25 per cent in last year alone

angel

Daily Mail: Doctors in Belgium are killing an average of five people every day by euthanasia, new figures have revealed. The statistics also show a huge 27 percent surge in the number of euthanasia cases in the last year alone.

The soaring number of deaths will inevitably fuel fears that euthanasia is out of control in Belgium, a country which only months ago became the first in world to allow doctors to kill terminally ill children.

The figures, published in Sudpresse, Belgium’s leading French-speaking newspaper, showed that 1,816 cases of euthanasia were reported in 2013 compared to 1,432 in 2012, an overall increase of 26.8 percent.

“You could say that currently there are 150 cases of euthanasia per month in Belgium or, even more telling, five people euthanized in a day,” the newspaper said.

Of the total number of cases in 2013, 51.7 percent were male patients and 48.3 percent were female.

Elderly people aged between 70 and 90 years made up just over half (53.5 percent) of the total. Those aged between 60 and 70 years represented 21 percent and those aged over 90 years seven percent. The under-60s accounted for just 15 percent of the total of number of cases.

In 2003 Belgium was the second country in the world to legalize euthanasia after Holland liberalized the law a year earlier, becoming the first country since Nazi Germany to permit the practice.

Over the past decade the numbers of Belgians dying by euthanasia has crept up incrementally.

There was a 25 percent increase in the number of euthanasia deaths from 2011 to 2012, soaring from 1,133 to 1,432, a figure representing about two percent of all deaths in the country.

In February Belgium extended euthanasia to children who are terminally-ill and in a state of unrelieved suffering. They must also be judged to have “capacity of discernment”, affirmed by a psychologist, and the consent of their parents before then can die by injection.

Anti-euthanasia campaigners have argued that such safeguards have consistently proved by be meaningless. They say that besides patients who are gravely ill, euthanasia is used increasingly on people with depression or non-terminal conditions.

Those killed include deaf twins Marc and Eddy Verbessem, 45, who were granted their with to die in December 2012 after they learned they would likely to become blind.

Last year, Nancy Verhelst, 44, a transsexual, was also killed by euthanasia after doctors botched her sex change operation, leaving her with physical deformities she felt made her look like a “monster”.

Disability rights campaigner Nikki Kenward of the UK-based Distant Voices pressure group said the figures demonstrated the difficulties in regulating euthanasia. She said that once a country legalized assisted suicide or euthanasia people were inevitably killed in greater numbers than ever envisioned.

The figures should serve as a warning to the Parliament not to change the law on homicide to allow even assisted suicide, she said. “As the numbers of people dying from euthanasia in Belgium grow, that slippery slope comes into vision,” said Mrs. Kenward.

“I am vulnerable,” said Mrs. Kenward, who has been in a wheelchair since the 1990s when she developed Guillain Barre syndrome. “I’m afraid of becoming another statistic, another faceless victim,” she said, adding: “We are told that safeguards will protest us from abuses. They certainly do not protect the elderly in Belgium.

DCG

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Breaking: Jihadist Rampage in Belgium


Via bbc.co.uk:
Deadly attack rocks central Liege in Belgium 
A gun and grenade attack in the centre of the Belgian city of Liege has killed at least two people and wounded 47 including a toddler, media say.
Witnesses say a man in his 40s threw grenades at a bus stop in Place Saint Lambert, a busy square. At least two other men are thought to be involved.
Reports say one of the attackers is among the dead. Local media say another has been detained, while a third is involved in a stand-off with police.
It is not clear who the attackers are.
There are reports of a fourth man escaping the scene.
TV images showed blood splattered across the cobblestones.
Medical staff are said to be attending to some of the injured in the courthouse.
Seven of them are in a serious condition, and doctors at a city hospital are trying to save the life of an 18-month-old boy injured in the attack.
Roads into the centre of the city have been sealed off. Police helicopters are hovering overhead and explosives experts are on their way to the square.
A TV report said many shops in the city centre had closed their doors, with customers trapped inside.
Place Saint Lambert is a busy intersection, served by hundreds of buses daily. It hosts an annual Christmas market which attracts some 1.5 million visitors a year.
-End
When I saw the above link pop up on Drudge a little while ago, I did not even have to click on it to know that members of the “peaceful” religion of Islam were involved.
 -Dave
(h/t: Drudge)

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