Euthanasia in Belgium, often involuntary and illegal

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A survey carried out by Raphaël Cohen-Almagor (Hull University, United Kingdom) denounces the practice of euthanasia in Belgium, where it is “often involuntary” and “often illegal”.

While euthanasia was legalised there in 2001, a survey carried out in 1998 already revealed that 1.3% of deaths could be imputed to voluntary euthanasia or medically assisted suicide and 3.3% to involuntary euthanasia, i.e. carried out without the patient’s consent. Since the law came into force, the situation does not seem to have changed much, except that doctors no longer fear to be prosecuted. To such an extent that the conditions laid down by the law, notably the period of one month between the request and the act, are not being followed.

According to one of the doctors interviewed by Raphaël Cohen-Almagor, 8% of deaths occur after administering a ‘terminal sedation’, a practice that consists of maintaining the patient in a state of unconsciousness until death and requires no prior consent…

Note that Belgium is currently debating a possible extension of euthanasia to minors, among others.

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