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Choosing to Die

Posted 158 days ago | 15.06.19

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Choosing to Die

Doctor Yves de Locht practises euthanasia in Belgium. Every day he is asked for help by patients who want to die but for personal and emotional reasons he says he can only do a maximum of one euthanasia per month.

Active euthanasia (sometimes called ‘mercy killing’) is only legal in a handful of countries in the world. Belgium legalised it in 2002 and, on average, six people are euthanised there every day. Last year 2357 people chose to end their lives.

Dr. De Locht talked about this in a BBC film. He said: “We inject this product in the patient’s vein. In less than in a minute the patient is asleep and then very soon afterwards is dead. Without suffering and without pain.”

He continues: “We have to accept that we cannot cure everything and our role, when we cannot cure, is to try to relieve the patient. Our role is to relieve pain and I’m still doing my job as a doctor when I go to the very end.”

At clinics in Belgium those choosing their end may invite family and friends to share the occasion. 

The doctor has written the stories of some of his patients and keeps them together in a folder. They all thank him for his help in escaping what can be an intolerable hell. Dignity is seen as an important element in the process and one man who chose to die said: It comforts me to know that It isn’t the cancer that kills me. I make the choice.”

In the UK it is considered murder or manslaughter and the maximum penalty is life imprisonment.

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