A 29-year-old woman from the Netherlands was approved for euthanasia on the grounds of mental distress: “Every doctor said to me: ‘Are you sure?’. ‘But I’ll go all the way'”

A British newspaper writes that Zoraya der Beek, who suffers from chronic depression, anxiety, trauma and an unspecified personality disorder, is expected to end her life soon. Guardian.

A 29-year-old woman was euthanized due to emotional distressPhoto: Photo 50852602 © Evgenyatamanenko | Dreamstime.com

  • Assisted dying continues to be a controversial topic worldwide, with human, medical, social and religious implications, as well as many advantages and disadvantages.
  • Seven countries in Europe currently allow it. Medically assisted suicide has been legal in Switzerland since 1942, and medical euthanasia is legal in six European countries: Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain. The Guardian writes. Courts in Germany and Italy have ruled in favor of this practice.
  • A bill to allow people to request assisted dying will be presented to the French parliament on May 27. Ireland is also considering legislation and a bill has been tabled in the Scottish Parliament.
  • In the case of medically assisted suicide, the patient opens the syringe himself or swallows the pills that cause his death.
  • On August 23, 2022, 46-year-old Romanian Eugen Marin Sabau became the first prisoner in Spain to receive the right to euthanasia at the prison hospital he was in. As Libertatea wrote in November 2022, he suffered a stroke in December 2021 during an armed attack at his former workplace.

Now The Guardian reports the case of a 29-year-old Dutch woman who is expected to end her life due to excruciating stress in the coming weeks is sparking debate across Europe on the theme. The Guardian reports.

After a three-and-a-half-year process under a law enacted in the Netherlands in 2002, Zoraya der Beek received final approval for assisted dying last week.

Her case has sparked controversy because assisted dying for people with mental health conditions is unusual in the Netherlands, although the number is increasing. In 2010, there were two cases involving mental disorders; In 2023, 138 of 9,068 euthanasia deaths: 1.5%.

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An article about his case, published in April, was picked up by the international press, sparking a wave of protests, much to Der Beek’s chagrin. That was the moment the mailbox “exploded.” Most of the comments came from outside the Netherlands, many of them from the United States. He quickly deleted all his social media accounts.

“Don’t do that, your life is precious,” people said. I know that. Others said they had a treatment like a special diet or medication. Some told me to find Jesus or Allah or I was going. Burning in hell was a real storm and I couldn’t handle all the negativity.

She said it’s understandable that cases like hers — and the broader issue of the legality of assisted dying — are controversial. “People think you can’t think straight when you’re mentally ill, which is insulting,” he told The Guardian. “I understand the fear of some disabled people dying and the concerns that people are being pressured to die. But in the Netherlands, this law has been in place for over 20 years. There are very strict rules and it is very concrete.”.

What Dutch law says

According to Dutch law, to qualify for assisted dying, a person must suffer “intolerable suffering without relief”. She must be fully informed to make such a decision. But the process is complicated and takes years.

Why is the young woman suffering and what treatment has she tried?

Der Beek’s difficulties began in childhood. He suffers from chronic depression, anxiety, trauma and non-specific personality disorder. She was also diagnosed with autism. When she met her partner, she believed that the safe environment he provided would heal her. “But I kept mutilating myself and killing myself.”

He underwent intensive treatments including talk therapy, drugs and more than 30 electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) – electric shocks. “In therapy, I learned a lot about myself and coping mechanisms, but it didn’t solve the core problems. At the beginning of therapy, you start with hope. I thought I would get better. But the longer therapy goes on, the more you start losing hope.”

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After 10 years, “nothing” in terms of treatment. “I know I can’t deal with the way I’m living now.” She contemplates taking her own life, but the violent suicide death of a schoolmate and its impact on the girl’s family dissuades her.

“I finished electroconvulsive therapy in August 2020, and after accepting that there was no cure, I applied for assisted dying in December of that year. It was a long and complicated process. It wasn’t like asking for assisted dying on a Monday. ‘I’ll be dead by Friday, I’ve been on the waiting list for so long. , because there are few doctors who are willing to commit to assisted dying for the mentally ill, and then you have to be evaluated by a panel, get a second opinion about your eligibility and have their decision reviewed by another independent doctor.”

In these three and a half years, I have never wavered about my decision. I felt guilty – I had a partner, a family, friends and I wasn’t blind to their pain. And I was scared. But I’m determined to go all the way.”

He will die in a few weeks

“Every doctor, at every stage, tells me: ‘Are you sure? You can stop at any time’. For most of the conversation my partner was in the room to support me, but a few times he was asked to leave so the doctors could make sure I was speaking freely.”

After meeting with the medical team, Der Beek expects his death to occur in the coming weeks. “I’m relieved. Such a long fight.”

On the appointed day, the medical team arrives at Der Beek’s house. “They’ll start giving me anesthesia, they won’t give me the drugs that stop my heart until I’m in a coma, I’ll be asleep, my partner will be there, but I said, ‘It’s okay if he leaves the room before the moment of death,'” he said.

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“Now it’s time, we’re ready for it, and we’re a little relieved. I feel guilty, too. But sometimes when you love someone, you have to let them go.”

What Romanian doctors say about assisted dying

In a series of articles from 2022, the newspaper Libertatea publica and The opinion of three doctors from Romania About this material. Opinions conflicted.

Dr. Ovidiu Palea, who works in anaesthesia, intensive care and pain management, declared that a “do not resuscitate” protocol is appropriate to respect the patient’s wishes, as is done at the European level. He also felt that Romanian medicine still had a long way to go to deal with something like this. “to choose whether he does not want to be inhaled or resuscitated,” he said.

On the other hand, Doctor Gheorghe Borcean, vice-president of the College of Doctors, invokes the Christianity of the Romanian people, and implicitly the doctors: “Only God knows the chances of a patient’s survival.” Let it be an incurable disease. Dr. Porcian does not believe that the patient should decide his own death. It is worth noting that Dr. Porcianu did not speak on behalf of the College of Physicians.

At the same time, an ATI doctor said, “It seems important to have this tool for people who need it. I don’t think it should be one doctor’s responsibility, there should always be at least three doctors in some kind of group who take equal responsibility for acknowledging this fact. It’s in situations where the patient says: “I’m going to die. You need to stabilize the conditions, because I can’t anymore, because I’m completely disabled, I can’t live anymore.” We are not talking about patients who want to die even if they are healthy.

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