Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Belgium Investigates Doctors Who Euthanized Autistic Woman

AP_euthanasiaThree doctors in East Flanders, are being investigated after a 38 year old woman died in 2010, Tine Nys, in an apparent legal killing that she had requested, only two months after being diagnosed with Asperger's, a mild form of Autism. This is the first criminal investigation in a euthanasia case since the practice was legalized in 2002 in the European nation.

Belgium is one of two countries with legal euthanasia that allow the procedure for psychiatric reasons if they can prove they have "unbearable and untreatable" suffering. Netherlands is the other country. Among the most common mental reasons for doctor assisted suicide, Asperger's is in the top three.

The Nys family filed a criminal complaint after the procedure and Tine's death, citing several "irregularities" in her death, and then her doctors attempted to block the investigation. They will now face trial "due to poisoning," said Francis Clarysse, a Ghent prosecutor. There have also been concerns that Dr. Lieve Thienpoint, Tine Nys' therapist, too easily approved euthanasia requests from patients with mental illnesses.

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

See Belgium Investigates Doctors Who Euthanized Autistic Woman, Fox News, November 27, 2018.


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