A young woman known only as the fictitious name Laura is planing to die this summer. She has been told she qualifies for euthanasia, despite not having a terminal disease.
Laura, 24, does not suffer from any physical illness, but she does have suicidal thoughts.
She told doctors who assessed her condition that ‘life, that’s not for me’
It has been estimated that five people a day in Belgium die with the assistance of doctors, ranging from those with terminal illness to others with chronic, but not life threatening ailments.
The Mail Online report:
The young woman spoke with Belgian newspaper De Morgen about her decision. She said she was convinced that she had to die since her childhood claiming ‘life, that’s not for me’.
Laura told the newspaper that these are among her earliest thoughts as she had a troubled childhood. She admitted that her arrival was not planned by her parents and that her father drank too much.
She eventually moved in with her grandparents, but this did not diminish her self-destructive thoughts.
Laura admitted that her grandparents gave her ‘security, peace, and structure,’ but that was not enough.
The young woman has been a patient of a psychiatric institution since she was 21, where she made friends with a fellow suicidal girl, who died from euthanasia 18-months ago. Since
She said: ‘Even though my childhood certainly contributed to my suffering, I am convinced that I had had this death wish even though I grew up with a quiet, stable family.’
Laura said she has enjoyed the process of planning her own funeral but admits that her death will be difficult for her grandparents and her mother.
She said: ‘When I was six, I was once in a room full of friends where guns were located. I remember I was able to hold one and was given directions. “It allows me to meet my end,” I thought. “So it may be easy.” I thought then the guns were not loaded, but later I learned that it was. If I had known this at that time, I might have pulled the trigger. I can easily imagine.
‘Death feels to me not as a choice. If I had a choice, I would choose a bearable life, but I have done everything and that was unsuccessful. I played all my life with these thoughts of suicide, I have also done a few attempts. But then there is someone who needs me, and I don’t want to hurt anyone. That has always stopped me.
‘What I’m going to say on that last moment, I do not know yet. I have extensively written ideas in letters to my friends. I think everything has already been appointed. Maybe I will finally figure it out with these words, “Those who are about to die salute you.”‘
According to the most recent figures, the numbers of people choosing to end their own lives has surged by 27 per cent over the previous 12 months.
Figures showed that in 2013 there were 1,816 cases of euthanasia, compared with 1.432 in 2012.
Of the total number of cases in 2013, 51.7 per cent were male patients and 48.3 per cent were female.
Elderly people aged between 70 and 90 years made up just over half (53.5 per cent) of the total. Those aged between 60 and 70 years represented 21 per cent and those aged over 90 years seven per cent.
The under-60s accounted for just 15 per cent of the total number of cases.
In 2003 Belgium was the second country in the world to legalise euthanasia after Holland liberalised the law a year earlier, becoming the first country since Nazi Germany to permit the practice.
Over the past decade the numbers of Belgians dying by euthanasia has crept up incrementally.
There was a 25 per cent increase in the number of euthanasia deaths from 2011 to 2012, soaring from 1,133 to 1,432, a figure representing about two per cent of all deaths in the country.
In February Belgium extended euthanasia to children who are terminally-ill and in a state of unrelieved suffering.
Do you think it is right to allow euthanasia for a woman who suffers, like Laura, from suicidal thoughts?
What are your thoughts about physician-assisted suicide?