This article was published on the HOPE Australia website.
By Paul Russell, Vice Chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition - International
We reported recently about the excellent expose written by Rachel Aviv and published in the prestigeous The New Yorker journal.
Written around the story of Tom Mortier and the euthanasia death of his mother who was not ill but, rather living with depression, Aviv adds skillfully the details and comments from two other Belgians who also lost mothers to euthanasia in similar circumstances to Mortier.
The New Yorker does not engage in 'click bait' cheap journalism. Moreover, with such a detailed article on such a sensitive subject, their 'fact checking unit' will surely have examined Aviv's offering thoroughly before publication. That in itself is reason enough to consider the article in full - even if the reader is unsure or supportive of euthanasia in theory.
The truth, as Aviv uncovers, is that theory and practice in Belgium are miles apart. Any wonder that the expose on the main characters involved in these euthanasia deaths has touched a raw nerve. Never fear: the Dutch-language Belgian newspaper, De Morgen, has jumped to the defence!
De Morgen gives voice to the two medicos involved in the three deaths; Wim Distelmans in two cases and neurologist, Peter De Deyn. Both are dismissive of The New Yorker report but neither offer anything more than oblique criticism and, interestingly, neither mention Tom Mortier and the death of his mother.
Consider also that both cases involving Distelmans have been the subject of official complaints; so subjudicy is not the consideration here.