Advanced search

to think that belgian voluntary enthanasia is murder

(80 Posts)
ReallyTired Thu 03-Oct-13 09:29:53

When you have someone who is terminally ill and in extreme pain then I think there is a case for enthanasia. However I think there is a fine line between helping someone to have a dignified death and helping someone with possilby treatable depression to commit suicide.

This poor transexual was allowed enthanasia because of a botched sex change operation. I feel that he/she should have had treatment for depression/ councelling rather than being helped to commit suicide. I imagine that the fact that Nathan Verhelst was rejected by his parents for being born a girl had caused him untold pychological issues.

Prehaps Nathan Verhelst was poorly supported through his sex change operation and its tragic that he never found happiness. I hope that he rests in peace and I feel its sad that he was not helped to find peace in this world.

LaurieFairyCake Thu 03-Oct-13 10:07:16

People should have complete autonomy over their bodies.

Gosh, that's a hard thing to get to grips with - I'm thinking of a young person I treated for 4 years - who tried to kill themselves 8 times.

Happy and healthy now but had severe depression from 17-21

Feminine Thu 03-Oct-13 10:07:46

I actually don't think it murder. I read the initial post incorrectly- sorry.

What I do think though is, that we normally hear of these cases happening in older people.

Those that have lived. 44 is very young to be done!

I understand totally about M/health issues, and yet I still feel he should have been saved.

ReallyTired Thu 03-Oct-13 10:07:54

"People should have complete autonomy over their bodies, including how they chose to end them and their lives."

Should hospitals stomach pump people who have taken an overdose of painkillers? Should someone who is attempting to jump off a bridge be sectioned under the mental health act to protect them? How do you decide that someone is of sound mind to decide to kill themselves?

FreudiansSlipper Thu 03-Oct-13 10:08:41

i had a case study (an old study i believe used often when teaching about how to deal with suicidal patients) to write about a women who wanted to die. both her children had died in a car crash she simply felt the pain she felt was not worth fighting. she did believe that she would be with them again but her overriding feeling was simply she did not want to live without them

now was she psychologically too ill to think straight, did her grief make her unable to make decision on her own life or was she able to make the decision herself (i personally believe she was)

we all found it very difficult to decide what was right but she was sure

anyway she did take her own life and had support of her family

LaurieFairyCake Thu 03-Oct-13 10:09:29

Posted too soon.

Psychological pain can be treated if you throw enough money at it with proper intervention - in the vast majority of cases you can get better

But it costs a fortune for one to one intervention, there is no 24 hour care for severe pain - the mh hospitals and clinics cannot cope or offer the intervention needed

Binkyridesagain Thu 03-Oct-13 10:10:41

Only the person that is living the life can decide whether that life is unbearable.

Grennie Thu 03-Oct-13 10:14:00

I agree with the OP. This individual was physically capable of committing suicide. So why choose euthanasia? It may have been a last ditch cry for help.

And 6 months therapy is not enough help for someone severely depressed and/or with serious issues.

PetiteRaleuse Thu 03-Oct-13 10:16:26

YABU if people are in a fit mental state to know that they want to die, despite counselling etc, they should be allowed to do so. Our bodies, our choices.

How do we decide if they are mentally fit to make a choice? Well I wouldn't be able to make that call but I am fairly sure psychologists could work it out. There is a difference between a rash decision to jump off a bridge and a thought out decision to undergo euthanasia.

Grennie Thu 03-Oct-13 10:17:12

Why not just commit suicide then? I agree suicide should never be illegal.

ReallyTired Thu 03-Oct-13 10:17:43


I completely agree with you. I think the poor man need substantial intervention rather than being put to death.

"Only the person that is living the life can decide whether that life is unbearable."

Rather than killing the man, prehaps society needs to think how to make life bearable. Was there more that could be done to help Nathan Verhelst come to terms with his body and sexuality. Was there more we could have done to make Nathan feel worthy to be alive, even if he did not like his body.

Euthanasia should not be a cheap option or a replacement for good pychological or pallitive care.

Binkyridesagain Thu 03-Oct-13 10:20:54

I think the 6 months therapy relates to his decision to be euthanized, not to treating his depression. In order for eunthanasia to be carried out the HCP professionals have to ensure that it is not a rash decision and that the depression was not temporary.

It appears that his suffering had been all his life and at the age of 44 he decided that he didn't want to live that life anymore. He could have done it himself, but there is always the chance that it would not be successful, this method ensured that there would be an end, it would be without pain and it would be dignified.

mrsjay Thu 03-Oct-13 10:23:52

That is what I think binky they do not just kill people they might need to go through therapy before hand, and they are now dead so we don't know the whole story

Grennie Thu 03-Oct-13 10:23:57

I agree with the UK Government's decision to be against euthanasia. I think for people who are so disabled they can't commit suicide, I can see euthanasia is merciful. But for anyone else, successful suicide, if you really want to do it, it is relatively easy.

Euthanasia is too open to coercing people into it, even if that is not the intention. The fact that it exists as a legally state sanctioned option, will itself I suspect, make some see it as an option, when perhaps they would never have committed suicide.

MidniteScribbler Thu 03-Oct-13 10:29:14

I agree a total waste of life.

It was a waste of a life when his parents decided that he wasn't good enough to be loved by them.

mrsjay Thu 03-Oct-13 10:31:55

Psychological pain can be treated if you throw enough money at it with proper intervention - in the vast majority of cases you can get better

you can throw all the money you want at it you can not make a person accept the life they are living and the pain they are in imo

Mojavewonderer Thu 03-Oct-13 10:35:37

It's not murder. He was suffering just as much as someone who is in unbearable physical pain. It was his choice and his life and while it is always sad when someone who technically had a lot of life to live he didn't feel he did, he was the one suffering and it was his choice to make.

Binkyridesagain Thu 03-Oct-13 10:35:51

-in the vast majority of cases you can get better In the vast majority of cases I am sure that they do but maybe this man was not a member of the vast majority.

We do not know of his past medical history, we do not know of what medication or therapies to treat his depression he had received. We do not know anything other than what is printed in the papers, which is not a lot.

mrsjay Thu 03-Oct-13 10:38:30

just because there is therapy to cure his pain doesn't mean he had to take it perhaps he was just not wanting to live anymore was he supposed to just keep on getting treatment and not know how he was going to be from one day to the next until he died naturally as an elderly person ?

Branleuse Thu 03-Oct-13 10:38:59

its noone elses business. Im sure this decision hadnt been taken lightly.


comingalongnicely Thu 03-Oct-13 10:39:54

Why not just commit suicide then? I agree suicide should never be illegal.

Because it's not likely to go well! Would you rather he had spend 5 minutes choking to death after using a badly tied noose? Or that he had jumped in front of a train and ruined someone else's life too?

With suicide there are always other people affected - the person that finds the body etc.

This way it is done in a painless, dignified manner rather than having to skulk off into the woods with some clothesline, or to die covered in vomit after taking pills & booze (like a relative of mine).

His life, his choice.

mrsjay Thu 03-Oct-13 10:43:01

at least with euthanasia he was in control he knew it was the end and it was final and painless

harticus Thu 03-Oct-13 10:49:13

This story has caused me to reassess my position on state condoned euthanasia.
Very upsetting.
But I don't think it is murder. He would have killed himself anyway if he was feeling that suicidal. Just a shame that someone couldn't have intervened and helped.

ChestyCoffin Thu 03-Oct-13 10:51:27

Life is not compulsory for anyone.

I presume he had been deemed capable of making an informed decision.
Suicide is sometimes unsuccessful and unpleasant for all involved.
Why would he not choose a calm peaceful dignified death?

Regarding euthanasia and palliative care. It is not used as an alternative by HCPs.

How can you judge someone who knows they are going to die and the fear of the symptoms which are not always relievable with palliative care and the uncertainty of when and how, who choose to die a dignified life.

MissHC Thu 03-Oct-13 10:55:22

I'm from Belgium (although moved to UK in 2007). My grandmother passed away after euthanasia. She was terminally ill with cancer, was in pain, would never get better (lots of tumors everywhere) and worst of all was completely losing her memory due to brain tumor.

A couple of things.

First of all, the decision to do euthanasia is NOT taken lightly in Belgium. 2 doctors need to agree to it, and a decision is only made after extensive discussion.

Secondly, I think for psychological pain only the person themselves can decide when it's been enough. I am sure that person had had extensive treatment and counselling from psychiatrists - mental health provision is IMO much better there than it is in the UK (my mum is a psychologist). It's easy to get appointments and care is in general of very high quality. I doubt that he would have ever been able to get better - they certainly wouldn't have agreed to euthanasia if that was the case.

Personally I think it's fantastic that someone can be helped to not be in pain anymore. As some of you say - he should have committed suicide - surely euthanasia is a much more humane option?

FWIW this is not a typical case of euthanasia in Belgium - usually it's used for people like my grandmother with a terminal state of cancer. Therefore I am adamant that was not a decision made lightly and that it was agreed that it really was the only way to stop this person being in so much pain.

ScoobyWho Thu 03-Oct-13 11:06:27

My husband is a Police Officer (999 response), who in the early hours of this morning was the first attender at a suicide scene. The individual had hanged themselves. Due to the fact that he's a 999er, he has attended quite a few suicides - drowning, jumping off bridges but mainly hanging.

Most are under 60, I think anyone who thinks suicide is a preferable option to euthanasia is exceptionally naive and I'm being kind with my choice of words. My husband cuts the body down, checks for signs of life with or while waiting on paramedics, he then speaks to/has to inform family members most of whom are completely unaware.

I welcome any kind of legislation that relieves this horrible, sad, lonely way to die.

I also feel that denying the right to end your own life because its deemed that your psychological feelings/illlness aren't as serious as a physical illness is a dangerous concept.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now