|Tine Nys (centre) with her sisters|
by Michael Cook
CAREFUL! - A Blog About End-of-Life Issues
Another euthanasia scandal in Belgium. Two sisters have complained on a television program, Terzake, about the euthanasia of their sister. Tine Nys was 38 at the time and had broken up with her live-in boyfriend. On Christmas Eve 2009 she announced that she was going to be euthanased.
After interviews with doctors, she was given a lethal injection on April 24, 2010, with her mother and father and her two sisters, Lotte and Sophie, at her bedside.
Belgium allows people to request euthanasia if they have unbearable psychological suffering, not just a terminal illness. Tine was obviously a troubled woman and 15 years before she had been seeing a psychiatrist regularly. But she was recovering from a love affair, not suffering unbearable mental anguish.
Three doctors were supposed to concur that she met all requirements: a psychiatrist and two other doctors. This time a psychiatrist casually made a diagnosis of “autism”. The sickness from which euthanasia candidates are suffering is supposed to be incurable. Autism may not be curable, but Tine was functioning adequately. None of the doctors made an effort to treat her – but they were willing to kill her.
What horrified her sisters was their callousness and how little interest they took in persuading her to live.
The day of her death was immensely distressing for the family. The doctor was so incompetent that he failed to bring bandages to hold fast the needle for the lethal injection. Instead, he asked Tine’s father to hold it on her arm. There was no place to hang the infusion bag with the toxic drug so the doctor placed it on the arm of Tine’s armchair. To the dismay of her grieving family, it plopped onto her face as she died. Then the doctor asked her parents to use his stethoscope to see that she was well and truly dead.