Doctors who diagnosed woman as autistic so she could die by lethal injection face jail after family says she was only suffering from a 'broken heart'
Tine Nys' sisters told investigators that their sister was suffering from a broken heart that came after a failed relationship and not autism
Three doctors are scheduled to go on trial in Belgium after they certified a woman as being autistic so that she could be euthanized. Tine Nys' sisters told investigators that their sister was suffering from a broken heart that came after a failed relationship. They also told the detectives that she falsely claimed to be autistic to two doctors and one psychiatrist. Nys had told the three of them that her suffering was "unbearable and incurable" just so that she would be able to qualify for euthanasia under Belgian laws.
The Daily Mail reported that Nys was given the lethal injection in April 2010 at the age of 38. This happened just two months after she was diagnosed with autism. Her sisters and parents were by her bedside when she took her last breaths. Activists all across the UK have said that the case highlights the dangers of introducing euthanasia in the country.
The 38-year-old woman's family also claims that the law is broken because she had never been treated for autism. It was also, they said, never properly established that she was suffering unbearably or that her mystery condition was incurable, which is considered the key factor for euthanasia being given the go ahead.
The criminal case against the three doctors is taking place in Ghent, Belgium, and it is the first to happen since euthanasia was decriminalized in the country in 2002. Nys, who is from Sint-Niklaas, Flanders, had gone through treatment for psychiatric problems 15 years before she died. In a television interview, her sisters, Lotte and Sophie, said that Nys has "outgrown that" and that she was only feeling rejected because her relationship had failed.
The prosecutors in Ghent acted on the matter only days after a separate case took place in Holland. The Dutch prosecutors pressed charges against a doctor in The Hague after he put a sedative into the coffee of a 74-year-old woman who was suffering from dementia. He then injected her with lethal drugs as her family surrounded her, and pinned her down because she was resisting.
Lord Carlile, a crossbench peer and co-chairman of Living And Dying Well, a parliamentary group in the UK which is opposed to euthanasia, said that the Ghent authorities' actions indicated that the mercy killing experiment was flawed. He said: "What happens in Belgium has been held up by some as an example of good practice. This case calls into question all of those claims."
Dr. Wim Distelmans, one the other hand, is a doctor who campaigns for euthanasia and he also chairs the regulatory commission in Belgium. He has defended the three unnamed doctors who are currently facing trial. He told VRT, a Belgian public broadcaster, that one of the doctors may have to justify his actions but then added: "The two others only gave advice that is not binding."
There has been international shock after Belgium decided to pioneer the use of euthanasia, especially with its most recent admission that two children - who were 9 and 11 - have already been killed by doctors in the past couple of years. They were the first ones to die from lethal injection after the country changed the law to allow child euthanasia in 2014. Statistics reveal that there has been a 13% rise in euthanasia deaths over the past year and as of 2011, those number doubled.
Lord Alton, a crossbench peer from Liverpool, has said that any abuse of the euthanasia law in Europe carried a very strong message to politicians in the UK. He said: "These are harbingers of what could come our way. This is why Parliament has repeatedly rejected a change in British law."