Belgian Doctors Call for End to Euthanasia for Mental Suffering

[Comment: Once again, evil cannot limit itself. N. Valko RN, 10 Dec 2015] Dr Marc Van Hoey with Simona de Moor shortly before she was euthanised. (SBS Dateline) Comment: On December 8, a group of psychiatrists, psychologists, philosophers and others published a letter in De Morgen, a Flemish newspaper, asking the government to remove the option for euthanasia on the basis of psychological suffering alone. Here is an English translation from the blog of Trudo Lemmens, Professor and Scholl Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. * * * * * For the first time since the adoption of the law in 2002, a decision to allow euthanasia –the De Moor/Van Hoey case – has been challenged by the euthanasia evaluation committee and forwarded to the public prosecutor. The Australian broadcaster SBS made a documentary about this case and about the conversations between the patient and doctor. Another poignant video report was recently made public by The Economist, involving a 24-year-old young woman from Bruges, who ultimately declined the execution of her euthanasia request, which had been granted, and which was based on psychological distress. (24 and Ready to Die). In our open letter in the Artsenkrant (September 2015) we have already drawn attention to the legal uncertainty for the doctor in cases of euthanasia based on purely psychological suffering. In this opinion piece we draw attention to its particularly problematic character, in particular the impossibility of objectifying the hopelessness of psychological suffering. One would expect that the untreatable nature of this condition is supported by, for example, indications of an organic...