Online factual report for the weekly magazine HUMO and it’s online platform Humo.be about the flaws in Belgium’s euthanasia law.
Belgium is considered one of the most liberal countries, with the euthanasia law put in place in 2002. But due to political compromises there’s a gray area in this law that leads to human dramas. Many people in Belgium register a declaration of intent for euthanasia at city hall. This declaration states they want euthanasia when they will have an incurable disease or when they’re physical and mental suffering becomes unbearable. But what most people don’t know and realise, is that their declaration of intent is limited by law. Only when they will be in an irreversible coma, they will be granted euthanasia. Example given: when they had a stroke, a brain haemorrhage or suffer from dementia, they’ve expressed their will to terminate their lives with euthanasia, but doctors only will proceed when they are in an irreversible coma.
Jeanne (87) is fighting for euthanasia for her husband Staf (91), who suffered a brain haemorrhage six weeks ago. Staf is half paralysed, can’t swallow, can’t express his will, but is not in an irreversible coma. Although Staf and Jeanne have a registered declaration of intent for euthanasia, the doctors won’t let him go.
In this doco Jeanne and her daughter Chris testify and share their experiences and Prof. Dr. Distelmans (co-chairman of the Euthanasia Commission in Belgium) explains the flaws in the law and how they could easily be fixed, but that politicians lack the will and courage to change this law.