Belgium Euthanizes Deaf Twins Going Blind

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    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 consent
    I am for the right to die......however, they weren't terminal, I am not sure how I feel about this....thoughts?

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  3. 47 Comments...

  4. 16
    Quote from Esme12
    I am for the right to die......however, they weren't terminal, I am not sure how I feel about this....thoughts?
    Quality of life over quantity. I guess they didn't want to live their lives not being able hear and possibly see each other. If its legal there it's their choice, terminal or not.
    JDZ344, chare, naptimeRN, and 13 others like this.
  5. 10
    Quote from Esme12
    I am for the right to die......however, they weren't terminal, I am not sure how I feel about this....thoughts?
    It was their choice, it is legal in their community/country. What does it matter how any of the rest of us "feel" about it?
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    I wonder why they were going blind, at the same time no less. Was there absolutely nothing the doctor could do at least try and save their eyesight?

    On the one hand, I can appreciate how terrifying it must be to lose the ability to communicate, to be connected with the world. But, I feel like this kind of sets up a slippery slope.
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    It's legal in their country, it's what they wanted, they had the support of their family and friends....what's the problem? I'm sure they were probably terrified at the thought of not being able to communicate at all with anyone for what could be another 30-40y. I can't imagine what it would feel like to hear nothing, see nothing. You lose the ability to tell the difference from day v night, what day of the week it is, what year it is...all you know is silence and darkness.

    There are worse things in life than dying.
    JDZ344, Nurse_JessicaB, Emergent, and 17 others like this.
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    I don't see the problem in this particular situation. What concerns me is the mention at the end of the text of extending euthanasia to the demented and to children.
    When you are an adult with full understanding and knowledge of your decisions, it's fine to choose euthanasia IMO. With dementia patients, it's touchy. Unless they have a living will, and made it very clear WHILE they were still fully oriented that they would not want to live this way, it's a slippery slope. What if Mr. Smith decides he is tired of caring for his parents with dementia and claims they wouldn't want to live that way?
    And for kids...God, I am just so not ok with that. Kids can't consent to it because they don't have the emotional and logical maturity to understand the severity of this decision. And if the person can't DIRECTLY consent to it, we are essentially talking about murder.
    There is a huge difference for me between an adult choosing to end his/her misery in a long and well thought out manner or terminating a child's life...
    JDZ344, rnmi2004, purrrfectionist, and 6 others like this.
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    It's easy for us to judge their decisions as we "look" at our screens and "hear" our families voices. Perpetual darkness and silence is maybe something they didn't want to live with and until we are faced with a similar situation I don't think our opinions are necessarily important.
  10. 3
    I too was concerned about what they were going to extend it to......extending euthanasia to the demented and to children....I feel that is a slippery slope!
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    If I had a child dying of a painful cancer, I would choose euthanasia. It's a quality of life issue. A loved one living in pain with a terminal illness whether a child or adult would justify euthanasia.
    GrnTea, OCNRN63, anotherone, and 3 others like this.
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    But the difference is consenting to it yourself vs basically having someone volunteer you for death. As an adult, you can prepare for your eventual decline, physically and mentally. Write a living will. 'I don't want to live if I am such-and-such...'
    But a child? Yes, I am sure parents of terminally ill children would just want to end their suffering. But I just see something so, SO wrong about consenting for someone else to be killed. Especially someone who probably does not have the emotional and mental maturity to understand the very FINAL implications of it.
    I don't know. I am completely for assisted suicide/euthanasia for adults who can perform informed consent. But there is just something that gives me the heebie-jeebies about authorizing it for someone other than yourself.
    SoldierNurse22 and sapphire18 like this.

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