"I found out my depressed mother had been euthanised when the hospital called about turning over her remains"
13 November 2017
Godelieva de Troyer was 64 and in good physical health when she was euthanised by lethal injection.
"Is this humane? I don’t think this is humane."
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Tom Mortier, a Belgian man whose mother was euthanised without him being informed.
No chance to say goodbye
In April 2012, Godelieva De Troyer, who was 64 and in good physical health, but had a history of severe mental health problems, was killed by lethal injection by Wim Distelmans, Belgium’s leading euthanasia proponent and provider. Her son Tom Mortier was only informed when "hospital officials asked him to come to the morgue to fill out the paperwork necessary for turning over his mother’s remains to the department of experimental anatomy, per her request."
"I have a trauma now,” Mortier told Sohrab Ahmari of Commentary Magazine. "There is no care for me! Nothing! It all has to go here," tapping his heart. According to the article, "his mother’s death transformed the chemistry professor from a mild supporter of Belgium’s ultra-liberal euthanasia law into its most outspoken opponent. "Going to a hospital and getting an injection isn’t much different from someone jumping in front of a train," he said. "Is this humane? I don’t think this is humane."
Mr Mortier has tried to initiate criminal proceedings in Belgium, but local prosecutors dismissed his complaint against Distelmans, citing a "lack of evidence." Prof Distelmans, who has also authorised a number of other controversial euthanasia cases, such as that of 45 year old deaf twins, and a 44 year old whose sex change operation had failed, is co-Chairman of the Federal Control and Evaluation Committee that monitors euthanasia cases since its inception.
ADF have cited this glaring conflict of interest in their application to the ECHR. They also argue that Belgium have violated articles 2 and 8 of the Convention of Human Rights, the right to life and the right to respect for private and family life. In particular, they point out that Mrs de Troyer was able to dispense with her treating physician of more than twenty years and consult different psychiatrists until she found one willing to authorise euthanasia. Moreover, the doctor who carried out the euthanasia did so after she had donated 2500 euros to his organisation.
As Mr Mortier says, "The big problem in our society is that apparently we have lost the meaning of taking care of each other."
Do we want this in the UK?
Meanwhile, Dignity in Dying have released a report bewailing the fact that only a quarter of British people can afford to "outsource" their death to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. Commenting on the report, Dr Peter Saunders of the Care Not Killing Alliance said: "This is not new research but an attempt by a campaign group Dignity in Dying – the former Voluntary Euthanasia Society - to boost a flagging campaign that has consistently failed to achieve any legal change over the last twelve years. They have essentially carried out a survey of their own supporters and cherry-picked the most extreme quotes in the desperate hope of capturing a few headlines."
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