Three Belgian doctors face charges over euthanasia death for psychiatric reasons

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Tine Neys in the center with her sisters shortly before her death.

The Brussels Times reported that three Belgian doctors will face a court hearing in the euthanasia death of Tine Neys.

Neys died by euthanasia based on psychiatric reasons, but her family contend that she should not have been approved for euthanasia and that the death was carried-out in an amateur manner.

According to the Brussels Times:

The case concerns a 38-year-old woman, Tine Neys, who was euthanised in April 2010 at her request, as she suffered from psychological problems.

According to the patient’s family, Neys was not ill enough to meet the requirements of the euthanasia law as it was at that time. In addition, the procedure was carried out in an “amateurish” fashion, relatives said. A sister of the dead woman made a complaint, and the circumstances of the case were investigated by the Ghent prosecutor’s office.

The committal hearing found there was enough prima facie evidence of wrong-doing to send the case to trial. The three doctors – two physicians and a psychiatrist – have not been detained. …

Wim Distelmans, the chair of the euthanasia evaluation committee, who also operates a Belgian euthanasia clinic, stated that Tine Neys met the conditions for euthanasia in Belgium.

De Standard news quoted Distelmans stating:

‘The committee only checks whether the basic conditions and procedural conditions have been met. If documents show that this is the case, then we have no reason to doubt. We do not judge the professional competence of the psychiatrist or the doctor. It is not for us to judge about that. That is what the order of doctors, for example, is for. ‘

Recently the Public Prosecutor in the Netherlands charged a doctor in the euthanasia death of a woman with dementia, who previously stated that she wanted to die by euthanasia, but at the time of the euthanasia, she said no.

According to the case, the doctor put a sedative in her coffee and then had the family hold her down while completing the lethal injection.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.