Three doctors go for murder for helping a woman, 38, end her life in the first euthanasia case in Belgium
- Three are accused by the family on April 27, 2010 of illegal poisoning by Tine Nys
- They say she didn’t have an incurable mental disorder, an important condition
- Doctors on trial are Ms. Nys’ former doctor and a psychiatrist
Three Belgian doctors will stand trial for murder for helping a 38-year-old woman to end her life in the first euthanasia criminal case in Belgium.
The doctors, whose names have not been made public, are accused on 27 April 2010 of illegal poisoning by Tine Nys.
Prosecutors say that she did not have an incurable mental disorder, an important condition for granting euthanasia.
The doctors, who will stand trial in Ghent, Northern Belgium tomorrow, are the first to be tried for euthanasia since the practice was legalized in 2002.
The three doctors have been accused of killing Tine Nys, 38, (middle). Prosecutors say that she did not have an incurable mental disorder, an important condition for granting euthanasia
The three, whose signatures were needed for the procedure, are the doctor who delivered the deadly injection, the former doctor of Mrs. Nys and a psychiatrist.
The family claimed in 2018 that they suffered a broken heart because of a failed relationship and that they mistakenly claimed to be autistic to be approved for euthanasia.
They also complained that it was performed in an amateurish way and her sister Sophie said she was asked to hold the needle during the procedure.
Psychiatrist Lieve Thienpont, who was accused by nine fellow psychiatrists in a letter to the British Medical Journal in 2015 of being “responsible for probably nearly 50 percent … of euthanasia cases for psychiatric disorders,” previously complained about the family.
In a leaked e-mail, she wrote: “We must try to stop these people. It is a seriously dysfunctional, wounded, traumatized family with very little empathy and respect for others … I am starting to understand Tine’s suffering better. “
There is no suggestion that Ms. Thienpont is involved in the process.
Psychiatrist Lieve Thienpont, rightly so, has been accused by nine fellow psychiatrists of being responsible for “nearly 50 percent … of euthanasia cases.” There is no suggestion that she is involved in the process
When the trial starts on Tuesday, it will focus on the jury selection, a process that may take some time.
Prosecutors will then read the indictment on Friday before the doctors have the opportunity to speak next Monday. If the three are found guilty, they will probably get time in prison.
Under Belgian law, adults can apply for the right to die on condition that they are confronted with unbearable physical or mental suffering as a result of a serious and incurable disorder. It was expanded to terminally ill children in 2014.
Most patients who choose medically assisted death have terminal cancer, but mental suffering has, for example, extended to twins born deaf and blind who are unable to see or hear each other.
In neighboring Netherlands, where euthanasia is also legal, a doctor was acquitted in September after being accused of not receiving the correct permission from a woman with Alzheimer’s disease. Since then, prosecutors have requested a ruling from the Supreme Court.
Mrs. Thienpont runs a clinic in Ghent where she advises people about euthanasia
During the decade after euthanasia was legalized, there were 8,752 cases, with a gradual increase every year, according to a report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
In 2003 there were 235 cases of euthanasia, representing 0.2 percent of the national deaths, and in 2013 there were 1,807 cases, representing 1.7 percent of the deaths.
Up to 69 percent of all cases were people with cancer in 2013 and 65 percent were younger than 80 years.