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Belgium: First case of euthanasia for terminally ill minors
In Belgium, for the first time, a terminally ill teenager received active euthanasia - legally permitted. No further details on the patient have been released. In Germany, the topic of euthanasia has been a controversial topic for years.
Legal euthanasia for minors
In Belgium, the legally permitted euthanasia for minors has been used for the first time, confirmed the chairman of the state euthanasia commission, Professor Dr. Wim Distelmans. According to him, he was informed of the case within the legally prescribed period.
Apart from the fact that the minor patient was terminally ill, no further details were given: neither about the age, nor the gender, nor the medical findings.
Euthanasia Act in Belgium is considered to be particularly liberal
The Belgian euthanasia law, which has been in force since 2002, is considered to be particularly liberal. Doctors are allowed to kill at the request of adult, terminally ill patients, provided that the doctors certify that they are suffering intolerably. Parliament extended euthanasia to minors in early 2014 if the parents agreed.
"Fortunately, there are only a few children to whom this applies, but that does not mean that we should deny them the right to a dignified death," Distelmans told the newspaper "Het Nieuwsblad", which was the first to report on the case. As the Flemish broadcaster VRT reported, the case is more of a teenager than a child.
German experts are outraged
The news caused great outrage in this country. Eugen Brysch, director of the German Patient Protection Foundation, criticized a message from the dpa news agency: "Killing at the request of children has nothing to do with dignified death." But the European institutions are silent. "
Controversial discussions about killing on demand
Passive euthanasia, the termination of life-support measures, is permitted or tolerated in numerous countries - including Germany - but active euthanasia is prohibited in most countries. In the EU, only the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium explicitly allow killing on request.
In Germany, the topic has been controversial for years. Last year, a survey of oncologists found that many of them would be willing to help suicide in an emergency. Other experts, such as the German Medical Association, stick to their clear no to euthanasia. However, in individual cases, aiding and abetting suicide can be dispensed with, as a report from the Federal Ministry of Health shows.
“I think it is right that our legal system is silent on the drama of suicide. And that is why I am in favor of keeping the individual suicide allowance as a whole, ”said Federal Health Minister Hermann Gröhe. (ad)