Belgium: First case of euthanasia referred to the Public Prosecutor’s Office

Publié le 27 Oct, 2015

On 22 June 2015, Simone was euthanized in Anvers, Belgium, at the age of 85.  Ever since the death of her daughter a few months earlier, she could no longer tolerate living: “sorrow became an intolerable pain”.


 Her case, which was analysed by the Commission fédérale de contrôle de la loi euthanasie (Belgian Euthanasia Control and Evaluation Commission), was forwarded to the Prosecutor’s office in the first incident of its kind since the law governing euthanasia was passed in Belgium in 2002. In this case, it is alleged that the doctor who practised euthanasia, Doctor Marc Van Hoey, “did not comply with legal requirements”. The law requires doctors to seek the opinion of a psychologist before administering euthanasia in cases where the person’s life is not in jeopardy.  Dr. Van Hoey failed to do so.


In fact, Simone did not have “a specific psychological problem that caused intolerable suffering”, but was grieving. Doctor Van Hoey said himself that, “She did not want to die because she was depressed – not at all – but because she had had enough”. The doctor therefore documented in his report that Simone was suffering from “‘reactive depression’” that was impossible to treat.

Doctor Marc Van Hoey is President of the “ Recht op waardig sterven” Association campaigning “in Flanders for the right to die with dignity”. “If he has not complied with euthanasia legislation, the doctor could well be charged with murder”.

La Libre (28/10/2015) – Le Soir (28/10/2015) – Institut Européen de Bioéthique (IEB) (29/10/2015)

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