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Euthanasia warning from campaigners after death of woman with PTSD

British campaigners fighting the introduction of assisted dying laws have expressed outrage after a physically healthy 23-year-old Belgian woman was helped to die, describing the case as “truly shocking”.

Shanti De Corte, traumatised and suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a terror attack in 2016, died in May after two psychiatrists approved her request to die, agreeing she was so depressed that she could be legally euthanised.

Daily Mail reports that the campaigners have warned that if assisted dying laws are passed, or if even “a narrowly defined act” were brought in, it would inevitably broaden over time to include those with mental health problems.

But Dignity in Dying, which is calling for a change in the law, said there was “no evidence” from around the world that this tended to happen.

De Corte, from Antwerp, had developed depression and PTSD after being caught up at Brussels Airport in the Islamic State attack of March 2016 which killed 32.

Although physically unscathed, she never recovered from the trauma and attempted suicide twice before asking doctors to help end her life. Under Belgian law, euthanasia is allowed if a person is in “a medically futile condition of constant and unbearable physical or mental pain that cannot be alleviated”. There is no lower age limit.

Andrea Williams of Christian Concern said: “It is truly shocking that an otherwise healthy, but traumatised 23-year-old was euthanised rather than cared for. With proper help, she could have lived a long, fulfilling life. This shows how slippery the slope is once you allow euthanasia in law.”

UK campaigners for assisted dying stress that their proposals explicitly exclude those with mental health problems. They argue that it should be legal only for what Dignity in Dying calls “terminally ill, mentally competent adults”.

Sarah Wootton, the organisation’s chief executive, said: “The evidence from the US, Australia and New Zealand shows that tightly drafted and safeguarded laws with these strict criteria remain that way. People in Ms De Corte’s position wouldn’t be eligible for an assisted death under any proposed UK legislation.”


Daily Mail article – British campaigners warn against assisted dying laws following 'truly shocking' case of Belgian woman, 23, who was euthanised after being 'traumatised' by ISIS attack (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Euthanasia activist says SA doctors support legalising assisted dying


Murder, euthanasia or a doctor’s discretion in pain management?


Colombian woman dies by euthanasia after historic legal battle


Doctor and patient in new SA bid to legalise euthanasia


Are the Dutch euthanasia laws a ‘slippery slope’?



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