In Belgium a disputable case of euthanasia recently made the headlines when a patient, with dementia, was given a lethal injection by his doctor. The physician thus acted in violation of the 2002 Euthanasia Act, without having either the patient’s consent or a second doctor’s opinion.
The Federal Euthanasia Control and Evaluation Commission referred this case, but failed to report it to the State Prosecutor for investigation. One of the commission members, shocked, turned in his resignation in protest. This new infringement provoked fierce reactions in the French-language media in Belgium.
The European Institute of Bioethics has published an analysis which raises questions about how the Commission operates: “The Flemish-language press mentions that some members fear that such cases will damage the reputation of Belgium’s euthanasia law and may even discourage doctors from practicing euthanasia out of fear of being prosecuted. Are political arguments going to prevail above respect of the law? “