Belgian euthanasia cases hit record high

January 27, 2016

Belgium carried out more than 2,000 mercy killings last year, the most since euthanasia was controversially legalised in 2002, the government said Wednesday.

"There were 2,021 cases in 2015," said a spokeswoman for the government's euthanasia commission which oversees the legislation to ensure it is correctly applied.

In 2014, there were 1,924 cases, according to official figures, with the numbers rising steadily since 2002, topping 1,000 for the first time in 2011 with 1,133.

Commission head Professor Wim Distelmans said the increase appeared to reflect more doctors registering euthanasia cases than before but there were perhaps more which were undeclared.

"Remember, there could be some euthanasia carried out but which are not declared so we cannot say for certain what the position is," Distelmans was quoted as saying by the Belga news agency.

Belgium extended the scope of its law in 2014 to allow euthanasia for minors of any age suffering from incurable diseases if they were capabale of making a about their fate.

Even more controversial than euthanasia's introduction in 2002, the move sparked fierce debate over whether a child had the ability to make such a decision.

The neighbouring Netherlands is the only other country in the world to allow euthanasia for minors but it has a minimum age of 12.

Distelmans said that the commission had not received any request for euthanasia for a minor.

After the Netherlands and Belgium in Europe, Luxembourg approved euthanasia but for adults only in 2009.

In Switzerland, doctors can assist a patient seeking to die but itself is illegal.

Explore further: Belgium looks at euthanasia for minors, Alzheimer's sufferers

Related Stories

Belgium looks at euthanasia for minors, Alzheimer's sufferers

December 18, 2012
Belgium is considering a significant change to its decade-old euthanasia law that would allow minors and Alzheimer's sufferers to seek permission to die.

Row over euthanasia for minors intensifies in Belgium

November 6, 2013
A heated debate on proposals to legalise euthanasia for minors in Belgium, one of the few countries to allow it for adults, intensified on Wednesday with supporters and opponents pressing their case.

Belgium debates euthanasia for minors

February 20, 2013
Belgian legislators opened a debate Wednesday on whether to amend a decade-old law on euthanasia to cover minors, being told by experts that it was already taking place in practice without any set guidelines.

Belgian upper house approves euthanasia for children

December 12, 2013
Belgium's upper house on Thursday backed plans to extend mercy-killing to terminally-ill children amid an intense public debate.

Study: Euthanasia cases more than double in northern Belgium (Update)

March 17, 2015
Almost one in 20 people in northern Belgium died using euthanasia in 2013, more than doubling the numbers in six years, a study released Tuesday showed.

Euthanasia cases up 13 percent in Netherlands

September 24, 2013
The commission that vets cases of euthanasia in the Netherlands says cases rose by 13 percent in the Netherlands in 2012 from 2011, the sixth consecutive year of increases.

Recommended for you

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.