Belgium investigates doctors who euthanized autistic woman
Belgian officials are investigating whether doctors improperly euthanized a woman with autism, the first criminal investigation in a euthanasia case since the practice was legalized in 2002 in the European nation.
Three doctors from East Flanders are being investigated on suspicion of having “poisoned” Tine Nys in 2010. The 38-year-old had been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism, two months before she was euthanized by a doctor in an apparently legal killing that she had asked for.
Belgium is one of two countries, along with the Netherlands, where the euthanasia of people for psychiatric reasons is allowed if they can prove they have “unbearable and untreatable” suffering. Among Belgians euthanized for mental health reasons, the most common conditions are depression, personality disorder and Asperger’s.
Many experts — in Belgium and beyond— dispute whether autism should be considered a valid reason to be a euthanasia candidate.