Study: Euthanasia for psychiatric reasons, 100 Belgian cases

By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) will publish a "study" on July 27, 2015 examining 100 requests for euthanasia for psychiatric reasons in Belgium. 

Link to the early release of the study.

Four of the six authors of the study are connected to the euthanasia clinic in Belgium.

Wim Distlemans operates the euthanasia clinic in Belgium, and Lieve Thienpont, Kurt Audenaert, Peter P De Deyn work with the euthanasia clinic. 

Distelmans has been connected to many of the high profile euthanasia deaths, including Godelieva De Troyer, the mother of Tom Mortier.

Thienport is the psychiatrist who approved the euthanasia death in the recent story of "Laura" the 24-year-old physically healthy Belgian woman who lives with suicidal thoughts. 

Thienport was the psychiatrist who examined the 100 people who requested euthanasia for psychiatric reasons. 

Link to a Youtube video of Thienport explaining the outcome of the "study."

The stated objectives of this study are: 

first, to report on characteristics of psychiatric patients requesting euthanasia because of psychological suffering; and second, to describe the formal assessment procedures and outcomes of the euthanasia requests. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to explore the determinants, procedures and outcomes of euthanasia requests in a relatively large group of psychiatric patients with psychological suffering.

The objectives of this "study" should state: this study was written to justify lethal injection for people who are healthy but living with psychological suffering in Belgium. It is possible that Distelmans and Thienport designed the study in defense of the practise of euthanasia for psychiatric reasons after receiving complaints.

What did the study find?

The "study" examines 100 consequtive requests for euthanasia at a psychiatric out-patient clinic between October 2007 and December 2011. The analysis of the data closed in December 2012. The data states:

  • 77 euthanasia requests were woman, 23 were men,
  • 48 of the requests were approved and 35 died by euthanasia, 
  • 1 died by palliative sedation (sedation with withdrawal of water),
  • the average age was 47,
  • 58 were depressed, 50 had a personality disorder,
  • 12 were autistic, (I have an autistic son), 13 had post traumatic stress, 11 had anxiety disorder, 10 had an eating disorder, etc

The study begins by promoting the "safeguards" in the Belgian euthanasia law and explaining how the safeguards for euthanasia for psychiatric reasons follows tighter safeguards. This first section of the study takes pains to convince the readers that euthanasia is carefully done in Belgium.

Link to the full article