Skip to comments.Belgian twins euthanized over fear of going blind
Posted on 01/17/2013 12:40:15 AM PST by Cronos
Sad news out of Belgium: two twins, deaf from birth, were euthanized after discovering they were going blind. The brothers worked and lived together, and they were productive members of society. They weren’t suffering, in extreme pain, or terminally ill. Belgium’s euthanasia law requires that a person be suffering from extreme pain or a terminal illness. The twins, despite not meeting the requirements to be eligible for euthanasia, were still put to death by lethal injection.
The pair were euthanised by lethal injection by doctors at Brussels University Hospital on December 14. They were very happy. It was a relief to see the end of their suffering, supervising doctor David Dufour told RTL television news.
They had a cup of coffee in the hall, it went well and a rich conversation. The separation from their parents and brother was very serene and beautiful. At the last there was a little wave of their hands and then they were gone.
The men, from the village of Putte outside Brussels, had first sought help from – and been refused by – their local hospital.
The doctor from the original hospital rightly felt that being blind or deaf was not what the legislation meant by “unbearable suffering.” Their parents also did not agree with their decision to be euthanized. Just days later, the Belgian government announced plans to potentially allow children with disabilities or adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia to be euthanized as well, a possibility that’s extremely worrying.
Consider the case of these twins. The National Federation of the Blind responded, saying:
This disturbing news from Belgium is a stark example of the common, and in this case tragic, misunderstanding of disability and its consequences. Adjustment to any disability is difficult, and deaf-blind people face their own particular challenges, but from at least the time of Helen Keller it has been known that these challenges can be met, and the technology and services available today have vastly improved prospects for the deaf-blind and others with disabilities. That these men wanted to die is tragic; that the state sanctioned and aided their suicide is frightening.
If a patient goes to a doctor with suicidal thoughts, the right way to respond is not to go get the lethal injection medication ready. It’s to arrange counseling and therapy, to try to help him past his suicidal thoughts…not feed into them. But that’s what these Belgian doctors did, with the apparent approval of the Belgian government. It didn’t matter that these men were not terminally ill or in extreme pain. They were allowed to be killed.
And even scarier is the thought that Belgium might be expanding their euthanasia program, especially considering that parents could be permitted to legally kill their children, simply because those children have a disability, or that someone with Alzheimer’s could be murdered without being capable of consenting to his own death first.
These twins were vulnerable and needed information and help, not death. But their vulnerability was exploited, and now, tragically, they’re dead. The slippery slope of euthanasia in Belgium should serve as a warning for other countries considering starting down this grisly road.
OH! Nice Job!
Hellen Keller applauds you!
Were they the owners of a Broom Factory?!?!?
There are way too many excellent restaurants in Belgium to feel like losing hearing and eyesight is suffering.
I think I just put on 5 lbs thinking of that!
I can’t even imagine what the parents must feel.
Yeah. Lived there for years.
“truly, no waffles are as good”
If an American company could figure out how to do them, they’d make a fortune... with the caramelized crispy edges... you don’t even get syrup.
Chocolate from Wittamer in Brussels was unparalleled.
And yes Rue de Bouchers is great...but there are, once you live there.... other places that are AMAZING....
I am horrified at the content of this article.
If Annie Sullivan came back, she’d never stop throwing up.
did you go to Brugge too?
I think it’s safe to say the Belgium doesn’t allow private gun ownership. They will have to kill me with a bullet before they kill me with a needle!
This is a terrible slippery slope...but
Here’s a test, stuff cotton in your ears until you can’t hear a thing. Then, use a small piece of medical tape to tape your eye lids shut. Now sit like that for a couple days.
For someone like myself...the thought of going through life like that...yea, I’d pray for death. I’d beg for death.
With out some form of spacial reference I’d go totally mad inside my own mind. Even thinking of such a thing scares me.
Unable to know who’s watching you, who’s near you, if you were ever truely alone.
You could never take a walk by yourself ever again. You are totally at the mercy of ... everybody and everything.
Really hard for me to criticize what they did. When the idea of facing what they were about to face frightens me so much.
I’m sure it’s horrible to be told you’re going blind, and being deaf/blind would be very challenging. But these twins had each other. They had parents. They had another brother. They had advance warning of their blindness, so they could have gotten help, counseling, learned Braille, prepared in whatever way possible. Plus there would always be hope of a cure for whatever had blinded them. As difficult as their lives were going to be, there would have been good things, too.
Very sad and tragic.
Your emotional reaction to sensory deprivation is nieve and ridiculous. I have known more than a hundred deaf/blind people, members of an international organization for the deaf/blind. They were productive, happy people with lives worth living.
You are deprived of understanding about disability. Does that give you suicidal thoughts?
The fact remains this state sanctioned murder is heinous. By this Drs definition of pain anyone who harbors thoughts of suicide, depression, anxiety, distress or any other uncomfortable sensitivity can be euthenized.
But the thing is that they were not blind yet -- it wasn't complete yet.
If I was in their position, I'd be terrified too -- twice I tried going into a sensory deprivation chamber -- the first time was terrifying, the second was calming, but then I knew I'd come out of it
you don't know until you experience it. I had a fear of needles and blood when I was young. Then I was in a bad accident and a piece of metal cut through my diaphragm and was even bleeding into the lung-cage. Doctors put me in an emergency operation and before that I asked them what my chances were -- they said not good at all. I always thought I'd be terrified, but I wasn't
you don't know until you've gone through it
A deprivation tank is pretty good way to calm yourself. Prayer helps as well (though note that when I had the operation I was hardly religious and not for some time after either)
No interest in being less condescending. I toned it down as it was. Your sentiments are profoundly ignorant.
you are lucky. It’s the most beautiful town I’ve ever seen