Deaf twins going blind euthanized

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boilermaker's picture
Joined: 08/21/02
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Deaf twins going blind euthanized

Deaf Twins Going Blind Euthanized - Yahoo! News

Two deaf twin brothers in Belgium were euthanized by their doctor after realizing they were going blind and would be unable to see each other ever again, their physician says.

The 45-year-old men, whose names have not been made public, were legally put to death by lethal injection at the Brussels University Hospital in Jette, on Dec. 14.

The men, who were born deaf, had a cup of coffee and said goodbye to other family members before walking into hospital room together to die, their doctor told Belgian television station RTL.

"They were very happy. It was a relief to see the end of their suffering," said Dr. David Dufour.

"They had a cup of coffee in the hall. It went well and a rich conversation. Then the separation from their parents and brother was very serene and beautiful," he said. "At the last there was a little wave of their hands and then they were gone,"

More than 1,000 people legally availed themselves of doctor-assisted deaths in Belgium in 2011, most of them were terminally ill cancer patients.

The brothers are unique in that their illness was not terminal. Belgian law, however, allows doctors to euthanize "suffering" patients who are both mentally sound, over 18 and want to die.

Belgian lawmakers are considering a law that would extend euthanasia to dementia patients and children, whose families and doctors consented.

Should this be legal? Consenting adult men who desired to die.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

I think in the case of people who are not terminally ill, they need to ensure that the person making the decision is mentally competent and has their affairs in order (the article says that they must be "mentally sound" so I think they are already doing it) and perhaps gets some counciling first to explore other options (for example, if someone is upset over their quality of life, are there ways that the quality of life could be improved?) But at the end of the day, I do believe that our lives belong to us, even up to deciding when to go if we so choose, and I don't think that someone should have to resort to a painful or frightening manner of committing suicide if that is what they truly want. I think if we've exhausted all other options and the person still wants to die, that is their right and being able to go peacefully with a medicine that puts them to sleep is far more humane then forcing them to hurt themselves with a gun or a razor or a rope.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

I would rather the drs not be involved in this way. I don't mind so much the dr writing prescriptions for things that would kill if taken at a certain dosage, and the person choosing to commit suicide. But I do not think the dr should be put into a homicidal position.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

I don't really consider it "homicide" if the patient truly wants to go.

Having said that, I don't believe that drs should ever be required to do this. I assume there would have to be a subset of drs who choose to do it, because they believe in providing a humane alternative to suicide.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6568

I am torn on this. I do not really think a doctor should be the one killing someone.

Unrelated, I do not think being both Deaf and Blind means you have absolutely no quality of life. I know many Deaf people and some Deaf and Blind people. I recently met a Deaf Blind person that was so full of life. She spent half the time laughing and telling jokes. She is a motivational speaker that travels to different woman's conferences.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4103

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I think in the case of people who are not terminally ill, they need to ensure that the person making the decision is mentally competent and has their affairs in order (the article says that they must be "mentally sound" so I think they are already doing it) and perhaps gets some counciling first to explore other options (for example, if someone is upset over their quality of life, are there ways that the quality of life could be improved?) But at the end of the day, I do believe that our lives belong to us, even up to deciding when to go if we so choose, and I don't think that someone should have to resort to a painful or frightening manner of committing suicide if that is what they truly want. I think if we've exhausted all other options and the person still wants to die, that is their right and being able to go peacefully with a medicine that puts them to sleep is far more humane then forcing them to hurt themselves with a gun or a razor or a rope.

:thumbsup: This, exactly! And it's far more humane on their loved ones than stumbling onto a bloody mess or the anxiety of worrying & waiting for someone to come home. Tiven is doing a biography project on Helen Keller, and I have to admit that she was an amazing woman, but I personally wouldn't want to live in a dark, silent world. I'd rather wrap things up and go peacefully if I knew that was my fate.

And the problem with "assisted" suicide is that doesn't always work. The human body usually vomits up an overdose of ingested drugs so that's not a good option. With injected drugs, there have been cases where the person lost consiousness before the syringe was fully emptied, leaving the assister in the position of either having to finish the job or risk having the person wake up, possibly with brain damage or major organ damage. Far better, I think, to have a willing participant do the job properly the first time.

smsturner's picture
Joined: 05/11/09
Posts: 1303

As long as it can be proven they are mentally sound, I think it should be their right.
It's smart for a dr to be involved so it can be done safely, and painlessly.

I'm all for the rights of sound-minded adults to do anything that doesn't hurt anyone else. (most anything. lol)

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3317

"smsturner" wrote:

As long as it can be proven they are mentally sound, I think it should be their right.
It's smart for a dr to be involved so it can be done safely, and painlessly.

I'm all for the rights of sound-minded adults to do anything that doesn't hurt anyone else. (most anything. lol)

So what if the individual choosing this had dependents?

just musing...thats the only thought that I came up with last night. Someone who is not terminally ill, is sound of mind, might be suffering in some manner, but has dependents.

Maybe its not enough to make it illegal or anything, but i question the ethics of the situation.

smsturner's picture
Joined: 05/11/09
Posts: 1303

"KimPossible" wrote:

So what if the individual choosing this had dependents?

just musing...thats the only thought that I came up with last night. Someone who is not terminally ill, sound of mind, might be suffering in some manner, but has dependents.

Maybe its not enough to make it illegal or anything, but i question the ethics of the situation.

Hmm... I hadn't thought of that. I guess it would have to be handled through the legal system to transfer the guardianship.

(I guess the pollyanna in me is thinking that no one with kids would want to leave them to fend on their own, and would make sure to make these arrangements first...but not everyone works that way!)

And to add to my first thought, I would want some type of counseling to be mandatory before it's done.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4103

"KimPossible" wrote:

So what if the individual choosing this had dependents?

just musing...thats the only thought that I came up with last night. Someone who is not terminally ill, is sound of mind, might be suffering in some manner, but has dependents.

Maybe its not enough to make it illegal or anything, but i question the ethics of the situation.

I'd say non-terminal parents with dependent minor children would probably be out of luck because it wouldn't be in the children's best interest to lose a parent. We as a society don't allow parents to easily skip out on the responsibility to raise & support one's children. Life insurance doesn't usually pay out in cases of suicide so I don't think it would have to pay out under legal euthanasia if the person didn't already have a terminal illness that would otherwise be covered. If the parent has lost custody of the children for some reason, drug addiction or poor parenting due to mental illness or something else that might also make someone consider ending their life, then that's another story because they've been proven an unfit parent. And I think it would be better for a child to have good memories of their lost parent, not remembering them at the end in so much pain or out of it mentally from pain meds. The required counseling in Belgium includes immediate family members so at least the kids will have professional help in understanding what is happening and processing their grief.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"KimPossible" wrote:

So what if the individual choosing this had dependents?

just musing...thats the only thought that I came up with last night. Someone who is not terminally ill, is sound of mind, might be suffering in some manner, but has dependents.

Maybe its not enough to make it illegal or anything, but i question the ethics of the situation.

I'd also be curious about how this works from a life insurance perspective. I guess countries where this is legal have different allowances for it than ours might (i.e I know some life insurance policies don't pay out in cases of suicide?)

I'm all for it. I believe that people have a right to a peaceful death, and know that if my time was up I would want to control my death just like I try to control as much of my life as I can.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6568

"smsturner" wrote:

I'm all for the rights of sound-minded adults to do anything that doesn't hurt anyone else. (most anything. lol)

A doctor ending someone's life affects the person who's life is ended, not the doctor.

smsturner's picture
Joined: 05/11/09
Posts: 1303

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

A doctor ending someone's life affects the person who's life is ended, not the doctor.

I meant not illegal for the suicid-ee. Because he/she isn't doing anything that hurts anyone else Wink

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6568

"smsturner" wrote:

I meant not illegal for the suicid-ee. Because he/she isn't doing anything that hurts anyone else Wink

See I think if you yourself want to kill yourself then ok, but I do not think a doctor should be the one killing someone.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4103

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

See I think if you yourself want to kill yourself then ok, but I do not think a doctor should be the one killing someone.

Would you rather have to clean your dad's blood off the bathroom floor? Trust me, it's not a fun thing to have to do. Sad

Would you feel better if a phlebotomist did the actual procedure of inserting the needle, using a prescription from a doctor? Personally I think that's semantics.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6568

"Spacers" wrote:

Would you rather have to clean your dad's blood off the bathroom floor? Trust me, it's not a fun thing to have to do. Sad

Would you feel better if a phlebotomist did the actual procedure of inserting the needle, using a prescription from a doctor? Personally I think that's semantics.

Suicide is a terrible thing regardless.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I think this is a fine thing. why are we stopping people who want to kill themselves? If they want to they will find a way and it will be a lot messier.

I don't think doctors should be made to do this. Just as I don't think all doctors need to provide abortions. Each doctor has their specialty and this is just one.