Euthanasia in Belgium: 98 Advance Directives Rescinded


In Belgium the Dutch-language newspapers: “De Standaard”, “Het Nieuwsblad” and “Gazet van Antwerpen” have recently published statistics for 2016-2017 for rescinding requests for euthanasia. Ninety-eight citizens withdrew their signatures for advance directives for euthanasia, a possible option in Belgium since 2008. According to Gert Huysmans, President of the Flemish Federation of Palliative Care, people “write their statements when they are healthy, underestimating their instinct for survival which reappears when they are actually ill.” In its September 6, 2018 newsletter, the European Institute of Bioethics emphasizes that in the past 10 years, there have been 382 individuals who have rescinded or withdrawn their advance directives for euthanasia. “In 10 years, 170,942 advance declarations have been registered, with 128,291 files currently active, plus 42,651 statements which have now expired due to the 5-year validity period. Among the expired cases, 29,842 involved non-confirmed documents, while the remaining part was due to death by natural consequences (…). For the period of 2016-2017, according to their advance directives, 58 people had euthanasia performed by a physician. The other individuals were in a state of advanced unconsciousness or “irreversiblecoma. ]]>

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