Two years after Belgium passed a law allowing euthanasia for children, who are mentally sane and with a terminal illness that are requesting a quicker and peaceful death, a 17 year old boy has become the first child to be euthanised.
The Guardian reports how the boy was allowed a doctor assisted death. The law stipulates: any request for euthanasia must be made by the minor, be studied by a team of doctors and an independent psychiatrist or psychologist, and have parental consent. In the Netherlands the practice is allowed for children aged at least 12.
The Independent also reports on the story. “Fortunately there are very few children who are considered [for euthanasia] but that does not mean we should refuse them the right to a dignified death,” Mr Distelmans, who chairs Belgium’s Federal Control and Evaluation Committee on Euthanasia, told the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper.
And finally the Daily Mail also reported the story describing how the 17 year old was in ‘unbearable physical pain’.
A short video clip from a PBS documentary about Belgium’s euthanasia law explains what is needed to get a doctor to help you die in this European country. Meanwhile a great film to watch with euthanasia as part of the storyline is Million Dollar Baby. Warning spoiler: the hospital scene. Finally, if you’ve never studied about euthanasia before this simple powerpoint presentation on YouTube explains what euthanasia is.