Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Belgian Dr. Death Kills Non-Terminal Patient without Informing Close Relatives

The culture of death is a disturbing phenomenon. Image courtesy of Ketounette, Creative Commons.

Joel Kontinen

In April 2012, the son of a woman suffering from psychiatric problems received an e-mail informing him that her mother Godelieva De Troyer had been euthanized.

An article published in The New Yorker looks at this case – and similar ones – in detail.

It seems that the culture of death that allows doctors to assist terminal patients to end their lives is interpreted very loosely:

Last year, thirteen per cent of the Belgians who were euthanized did not have a terminal condition, and roughly three per cent suffered from psychiatric disorders. In Flanders, where the dominant language is Dutch, euthanasia accounts for nearly five per cent of all deaths.

The article goes on to say:

Although most of the Belgian patients had cancer, people have also been euthanized because they had autism, anorexia, borderline personality disorder, chronic-fatigue syndrome, partial paralysis, blindness coupled with deafness, and manic depression.”

The Belgian Dr. Death who killed Godelieva De Troyer is Wim Distelmans, an oncologist and a professor of palliative medicine at the Free University of Brussels. He seems to have a very un-Christian view of ‘palliative.’

The article suggests that humanism with its idea that there is nothing beyond this life lurks behind the popularity of the culture of death. As according to their worldview people are just accidental specks in an uncaring universe, it is no wonder some would prefer to press the exit button.

In contrast, Christianity with its living Christ can bring hope even into the deepest of despair. This has happened countless of times and can still happen.


Aviv, Rachel. 2015. Letter from Belgium: The Death Treatment. The New Yorker (June 22).