Two Men Euthanized in Belgium Because They Were Losing Their Sight

Speak of slippery slopes and it will never happen.

Identical twin brothers were recently euthanized in Belgium because they were losing their sight. This, in a country which allows doctors to legally murder (euthanize) children and people who are suffering from Alzheimer’s. Neither one of these two groups of people is competent to give informed consent.

Also, the practice of harvesting organs for transplant from the corpses those who have been murdered by euthanasia complicates things since it gives doctors a financial motive for killing their patients.

The question: When you pass laws that make your doctor your executioner, how do you ever trust your doctor again?

The Blaze article describing the twins’ medical murder reads in part:

Twin brothers in Belgium who were deaf since birth, lived in the same apartment and worked as cobblers were euthanized by lethal injection last month after they learned they were losing their eyesight as well.

The identical 45-year-olds couldn’t bear the thought of eventually not being able to see each other any more, the Daily Telegraph reported. It was an unusual cased based on Belgium’s law, which allows euthanasia by request if the doctor also considers the patient in unbearable pain.  New additions to the law also allow for euthanasia of children and patients with Alzheimer’s, according to the Telegraph.

These men, though, were not terminally ill or physically suffering in the traditional sense …

… The Telegraph pointed out that in 2011 about 1,133 patients were euthanized. If euthanasia as a practice wasn’t controversial enough, it also noted that some of the organs of patients euthanized in the country were being harvested. With a shortage of some organs for transplant, this would raise the issue of patients who might not otherwise be candidates for euthanasia potentially being cleared anyway. (Read more here.)

  • Val

    I appreciate how your article title and comment on the item imply that these two gentlemen were put to death by some cruel judgment, rather than, as was in fact the case, assisted in carrying out their own wishes. I also was gratified by your inclusion of irrelevancies such as organ harvesting. Well done, and thank you for your brave insistence that your moral qualms should dictate the living conditions of suffering people.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      So … you approve of euthanizing people because they are losing their sight? And you consider the obvious conflict of interests involved in doctors harvesting the organs of people they’ve euthanized an “irrelevancy?”

      “Assisting people in carrying out their own wishes” in the case of suicide is murder. As for my “brave insistence” that my “moral qualms” about murder should dictate the law, yes ma’am, I do insist. I insist that murder, including medical murder by euthanasia, be illegal. I find it incredible that we have sunk so low that this is considered debatable. I will oppose euthanasia with my vote, my advocacy, my blogs, my speeches, my conversations and my campaign donations. If that bothers you, then I guess you’re just going to have to be bothered.

      • http://reflectionsforthesoul.com Marcelle Bartolo-Abela

        Way to go, Rebecca!

  • Sus

    This case makes me question everything I’ve ever thought about euthanasia. I’ve never thought organ donation in this context. Very chilling.

    And “New additions to the law also allow for euthanasia of children and patients with Alzheimer’s”

    What the….????

  • Christopher Millsap

    I am glad to see at least some discussion on Patheos about this. This case needs to be discussed more. I am a liberal Christian but find this case heartbreaking and very troubling. We need to value the lives of and show help to the disabled rather than putting them in the position of thinking that suicide is the only way to avoid a meaningless life.

  • Nepsis

    Per the original report in the Telegraph, it doesn’t sound like children and Alzheimer’s patients are to be euthanized yet: “Just days after the twins were killed by doctors, Belgium’s ruling Socialists tabled a new legal amendment that will allow the euthanasia of children and Alzheimer’s sufferers. If passed later this year, the new law will allow euthanasia to be “extended to minors if they are capable of discernment or affected by an incurable illness or suffering that we cannot alleviate”. But I couldn’t find more info on this particular issue using Google Search. Help anyone?

  • Bill S

    This is a story of dignity and respect. At present, most people who wish to die on their own terms and no one else’s are denied that final dignity. Extrapolating the progress of mankind, one can clearly see that this will eventually change.

    Those who believe that such an act is a direct violation of God’s will will continue to fight against this liberty to the very end. Those who think otherwise will accept it.

    The choice between suffering, including being blind and deaf, and being relieved of that suffering is a no-brainer. Religious belief is the only impediment to making this option a reality.

    • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

      Bill makes a good point. As people’s sense of God wanes, as it largely has in most of Europe, especially the Protestant north, then there is no purpose to suffering, and if one wants to end it, one can. We need to evangelize, because without God there is no meaning to life, and if life becomes more burdensome than fulfilling, well then, just end it. If someone else’s life is causing you too much of a pain (i.e. abortion) then just end it. In the end, all ten of the commandments will be abrogated.

      • Bill S

        What is this fascination with the Ten Commandments? According to the story, which may or may not be true, Moses gave these Commandments to the children of Israel on their journey to the Promised Land. They were never intended to apply to everyone forever. Note that he also gave them other instructions, some not very humane.

        We have all kinds of laws to follow. So many that we need a complex judicial system to sort them all out. Euthanasia is prohibitted under these laws, with exceptions such as in Oregon, Washington and Montana. These are the laws that apply. Under Belgian law, what was done was deemed to be legal, and it seemed to be accepted by the two men and their family.

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        Dave, I agree with you here. Abortion made the right of a human being to be alive conditional on how much they inconvenienced other, more powerful people. That let the genie of legalized murder out of the bottle. The Ten Commandments is a non-negotiable for any Christian. It should be for all of society, but things are so far gone and Christians have become so beguiled by the killing fields that is our modern society that we need to start over again with us.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Actually Bill, I think Dave somehow or other derived an excellent point from yours. I would never characterize what you’ve said here as good, by any definition of the word I know except maybe grammar and spelling.

      I won’t waste time dissecting all of it. I’ll just quote this: “The choice between suffering, including being blind and deaf, and being relieved of that suffering is a no-brainer. Religious belief is the only impediment to making this option a reality.”

      Let’s be clear here: By “being relieved of that suffering” you mean killing people. You are not only in favor of killing people, but you equate their murder with a positive good. Somehow you don’t think that perhaps helping people who are blind and deaf might be a better option than giving them poison and watching them die. No. Killing them is the “kindness.”

      You go on to say “Religious belief is the only impediment to making this option a reality.” This is the one thing you said that I agree with. Atheism is totally incapable of developing a life-sustaining philosophy. It is a philosophy of death. If you doubt me, re-read your own statements and those of your philosophical cohorts. There is no form of legalized killing they don’t support and then bash Christians for opposing.

      Frankly Bill, this comment of yours is so cold-blooded that it chills me to read it. You need to take a look at yourself.

      • Bill S

        Before you make judgements, you should view this or other documentaries on the subject.

        “The Ten Commandments is a non-negotiable for any Christian. It should be for all of society…”

        There are modern laws that more than adequately set the standards for civilized behaviour, thank you. Sorry, they are just not that specific and applicable. Exodus makes for some good reading but it hardly provided guidelines for morallity. Do you just ignore the instructions to take the land and kill all its inhabitants? Or kill the men and take the women for yourselves, etc.

        I don’t worry about being cold blooded. If anything, I am too compassionat. I empathize with women who don’t want to take a pregnancy to full term, gays who want to marry and people who want to die with dignity.

        • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

          “I am too compassionate. I empathize with women who don’t want to take a pregnancy to full term, gays who want to marry and people who want to die with dignity.”

          You are exactly right. Compassion (or love) at the expense of truth isn’t compassion at all. Bill, God revealed truth to the Israelites gradually, and this explains why God allowed some things back then that today we recognize as horrible. Just for one example, “an eye for an eye” was actually intended to limit the reprisals from unending escalation. “Turn the other cheek” is a higher order of wisdom and could not come until later. It is also not clear if events where God is said to have commanded the Israelites to wipe people out is really written as history, or more of an allegory.

          • Bill S

            “It is also not clear if events where God is said to have commanded the Israelites to wipe people out is really written as history, or more of an allegory.”

            If the Israelites really didn’t do such horrible things in taking over the Promised Land, then why would anyone tell such a story. In any case, it makes no sense to refer to the Bible for guidance on modern issues like abortion, gay marriage and assisted suicide. And Church teaching runs a close second as a useless source of guidance for addressing these issues.

            Progressive countries like Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland that have more liberal laws represent our future. It is inevitable that we will eventually have a better policy for death with dignity. It won’t come from consulting the Bible or the Church.

        • Gigalith

          Do you have sympathy for those, such as I, who have struggled with suicide? Is my life worth living? Or is my suffering meaningless, and I should off myself at the first opportunity?

          Do you support suicide counseling? Then you cannot support euthanasia, or your actions will speak louder than your words. Do you support euthanasia? Then I doubt you are “too compassionate”, for how do you sympathize with me? Life cannot simultaneously be worth living, and not worth living if inconvenient. Suicide cannot both be an option for those who want it, and not be an option for those who do not want to want it. Suicide cannot be both a tragedy and a good.

          • Bill S

            “Is my life worth living? Or is my suffering meaningless, and I should off myself at the first opportunity?”

            You are not a candidate for assisted suicide if you are suicidal. Sounds like a Catch 22, but assisted suicide is primarily for those with terminal diseases, although in this case it was requested as an option to living out their lives while both deaf and blind. It was their call, not anyone else’s.

            • Rebecca Hamilton

              Bill, you are talking in circles. First, you defend the murder of these two men because they were depressed over going blind. Then you say that euthanasia is only for the terminally ill.
              You keep saying that it was their call, not anyone else’s, which is objectively and factually untrue. You refuse to see that there is any conflict of interest in the same doctor who agreed to kill them harvesting their organs for the doctor’s benefit.
              Is your real point just that you support killing people by medical murder (what you describe with the totally inaccurate slogan “death with dignity.”) and you don’t care about the facts or the situation?

              • Bill S

                I did get mixed up a bit. I was thinking of the situation that was on the ballot in Massachusetts, then I realized I was talking about Belgium. I do care about the facts of this specific case. I have to admit that this case goes beyond anything I would have supported previously. I am surprised that this was OK in Belgium.

                I am not so much condoning what they did as defending their right to do it. It all comes down to considering those who were left behind and how physically or emotionally dependent they were on the brothers. I still say it was their call. I am sure the doctor has his own worldview that makes this an acceptable thing to do.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Bill, I am proud to “make the judgement” that murder is wrong.

          As for you not worrying about being cold-blooded and judging yourself “too compassionate,” the compassion of abortion kills somebody as does the compassion of euthanasia. It’s a highly questionable “compassion” that allows someone to be free of another person by killing them.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Bill, I deleted a link you put in this post which was a Frontline video that was basically promoting euthanasia. I didn’t have time to look at it yesterday, and there are several replies here discussing other things you said in the post, so I took the option of deleting the link to the video rather than deleting the entire post.
          I WILL NOT have this blog used to promote murder. I am aware that the media has put itself in the business of promoting murder in many ways, including the promotion of euthanasia. However, I will not allow links to their propaganda pieces, or links to books or articles promoting murder here.
          We have had this discussion before Bill.

          • Bill S

            Understood. I just felt it would do you well to see a real case and see how one might be able to empathize with the patient. I think it is a very humane thing they are doing in Switzerland.

  • http://catholibertariandotcom.wordpress.com Teresa Rice

    Spot on! Way to go Rebecca!

    As a person who is blind in one eye this article really tugs at my hearts and hits home for me. I would never think of ending my life because of visual impairment. The twins weren’t even euthanized due to a life threatening disease. Not that I’m for that either but the lack of respect for the dignity of human life has reached a new low. Having an impairment means you have a right to death? That’s absurd. This is so sad. And yes, there is a conflict of interest with the doctor’s being able to profit from harvesting organs of the dead. The doctor’s are supposed to care for the patient, have the best interest of the patients at heart, but doctors are unable to do that when they are looking for or waiting for organs to harvest for profit.

  • Bill S

    Donating organs provides dying patients with the comfort that their death came to some good in helping others. It is a natural component of death with dignity. The twins were in control of their own lives and deaths. That is a good thing, not a bad thing.

    • http://catholibertariandotcom.wordpress.com Teresa Rice

      These twins didn’t respect the dignity of their own human bodies. Human life is precious and not to be discarded like garbage at a whim just because someone has a disability. The twins and doctor in concert with one another are acting as if they are God. They aren’t. That’s wrong. No person has the right to take another’s life just because he feels uncomfortable or he isn’t “perfect” or “normal” in his own eyes. God is the author of life and He is the only one who has the right to end life.

      • Bill S

        “These twins didn’t respect the dignity of their own human bodies.”

        I don’t know their personal beliefs. I suspect they may have been atheists but I have no way of knowing. If were atheists, then they obviously had a different worldview. They might have felt that they had experienced the best that life had to offer and were content to leave it at that.

        Their decision was entirely theirs to make and it doesn’t matter what you or I or anyone else thinks that they should have done. I would suspect that the concept of God was either not a factor or different from what you believe. They may have even envisioned a loving God waiting for them to come to Him. But it is more likely that there was no God to them.

        • http://catholibertariandotcom.wordpress.com Teresa Rice

          Committing suicide or being the subject of the assisted suicide is not a way to get to see our Lord. The Lord doesn’t condone murdering oneself, having someone murder you, or for a person to murder anyone else. That is a sin. This is when the person stops being treated as a “person”, stopped being treated as a human who deserves to be treated with human dignity. Persons have a moral obligation to respect, uphold and advance their own human dignity until his death. Euthanasia, allowing someone to kill you, is not compassionate and does not comport with God’s law. This just shows that you have a lack of faith in God. You never know what God may do if the person has the faith of a mustard seed. When a person is euthanized they are closing the door to the Lord’s healing.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Bill, when you state that the decision was entirely theirs to make, you are in error. A medical doctor had to agree to kill them. Let’s be clear about this: A medical doctor had to agree to kill them. Then the medical doctor had to actually murder his own patients. This happened because of a terrible law that allows medical practitioners to murder their patients for virtually any reason whatsoever. I say this because depression is so nebulous and subjective that using it as a criteria opens the door to murder for any reason.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Bill, you are ignoring the potential financial incentive to the doctors involved in killing patients in order to harvest organs. You are also ignoring the fact that a doctor might be more prone to go along with assisted suicide to gain organs for other people that he or she thinks is more “deserving” than the one who is being murdered.

      I’m going to keep repeating this until it gets through: “Death with Dignity” is an advertising slogan designed to make legalized medical murder more palatable to people who don’t think it will ever happen to them.

      • Bill S

        You are putting the cart before the horse in two ways.

        First, you have decided (or better still, the Church has decided) that this policy in Belgium is wrong (I would even use the words “intrinsically evil”). From there you justify that decision by pointing to improbabilities like “doctors involved in killing patients in order to harvest organs”.

        Second, you overlook the true motivation for the twins’ decision, which they made of their own free will, and you disparage their decision to donate their organs. You have taken a passage of life executed with the greatest forethought and selflessness, and labeled it as “murder” for the sake of reusing organs.

        It is good that they had the full support of everyone around them. I would have been terrible if someone with different religious beliefs had tried to interfere.

  • FW Ken
  • Bill S

    “News reports don’t indicate whether the twins were Catholic. If they were, though, nothing in those reports suggests any basis for according them the Church’s liturgical commendations into the next life.”

    That’s fine. I doubt that this was a factor in their decision. It wouldn’t be in mine.

  • FW Ken

    As with other culture of death issues, euthanasia demands social approval in ways that suggest the argument is really about approval, not about claptrap like “death with dignity”. Suicide is ultimately a private choice. It’s also rather easily arranged without laws and public fanfare. I probably have enough meds in the house to do the deed, if I were so inclined. I know I did before a bout of insomnia last week.

    Slopes do get slippery, and you only slide one way. In 40 years, abortion has gone from legal in the first trimester to the murder of clearly viable infants and laws against protection of babies born alive. Same-sex issues have gone from tolerance to acceptance to approbation to legal status to gay intolerance. Contraception has gone from legal because of privacy rights to must-be-free for all! In the Netherlands, we have already seen “euthanasia” committed on handicapped children and, I believe, dementia patients.

    The endgame is always power, and that which begins as power over my own body becomes power over your body.

    • Bill S

      “Suicide is ultimately a private choice. It’s also rather easily arranged without laws and public fanfare.”

      That’s not the preferable route where you are able to say your goodbyes without fear of someone stopping you. It’s not fair to offer that as the alternative.

      There are many worthy candidates for death with dignity. I can’t speak to every case.

      Some things you see as slippery slopes, others see as progress.

  • http://catholibertariandotcom.wordpress.com Kevin Rice

    With this case, we are already nearing the bottom of the slippery slope, and the speed of our slide is accelerating. The argument here seems to be about whether these men had a right to end their own lives, as if that were the only important point. It is not. Even if we were to agree that the lives of these men belonged to themselves and not to God or to a larger community of persons who would wish to accord to themselves a right to prevent an individual from carrying out a choice to end his existence, there are other dangers. Religious belief is the not the only thing that can motivate people to use coercion regarding end of life issues. Another source of pressure is money and costs. Where suicide and assisted suicide are allowed, they soon will be, de facto, required. The elderly and terminal patients who have no wish to do so will be pressured to end their lives before the one paying the bills runs out of money, even if the patient or elderly person is paying his own way (in that case the pressure will ultimately be coming from those who stand to inherit a diminished estate).

  • Bill S

    ” The argument here seems to be about whether these men had a right to end their own lives, as if that were the only important point.”

    It is the only point. You are speculating about the other issues.

    • http://catholibertariandotcom.wordpress.com Kevin Rice

      “It is the only point. You are speculating about the other issues.”

      I am speculating? Meaning that what I have anticipated might not happen? To anyone? Ever? Do you think THAT is not speculation on YOUR part? You are living in a fantasy world where no one has ever, and no one will ever, for the sake of convenience, pressure someone else to end his life. This is odd, because unless those twins were telepathic or shared a mystical common mind, one of them had to persuade the other to take the plunge with him. By supporting euthanasia and assisted suicide you are creating a world that you will have to live in when you are old or when you get sick. I hope you enjoy living in it and being pressured to die in it, for it will be the real world, not the world of your fantasy.

      • Bill S

        I not only don’t fear the scenarios you are projecting, I fully expect death with dignity to be an option by the time I am ready to check out. It’s ironic that assisted suicide is favored by those who don’t believe in eternal life and is opposed by those who do. You would think it would be the other way around. It’s that fear of dying in mortal sin by committing suicide that scares everyone.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          That’s complete nonsense. The reason people who believe in God oppose murdering other people is because we understand that the life of a human being, made in the image and likeness of God is not ours to take. I think the reason that atheists so consistently advocate for every death-dealing idea to come down the road is that they are heavily influenced by the devil himself, who hates life and craves death.

  • FW Ken

    “Progress” is a meaningless term unless we specify that toward which we “progress”. Progress down a slippery slope is quite fast. I remember when the Supreme Court declared abortion legal in the first trimester – the fetus being an undifferentiated bundle of cells (developments in the field of imaging have changed that, of course). Within a few years, we were seeing late term abortions. Progress! A bit later and we see the necessity of laws – opposed by the current president – protecting children who survive the attempt to murder them in the womb.

    Yep! Progress!

  • Bill S

    ” I think the reason that atheists so consistently advocate for every death-dealing idea to come down the road is that they are heavily influenced by the devil himself, who hates life and craves death.”

    I can’t believe that an influential state representative would actually say and believe that. Well, with that worldview, you are bound to do and say things that make no sense to atheists.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Bill, so long as so many atheists continue to advocate for driving everyone who disagrees with them from the public square (which is tyranny) and every trendy form of murder to come down the road (euthanasia, abortion, embryonic stem cell research, farming women’s bodies for eggs, etc) I am proud that I “do and say things that make no sense” to them.

  • FW Ken

    BillS -

    That’s a feature, not a bug. Atheism is a social cancer that had no place in a healthy society. The good news for you is that we aren’t likely to build gulags for you.

    We will, however, fight your persistent desire to institutionalize your private narcissism in public laws that encourage murder. The trajectory of euthanasia is a known factor.

  • Bill S

    Does that mean that you really do believe that atheists are “heavily influenced by the devil himself”? It appears that you are demonizing your intellectual opponents.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      No, I certainly don’t intend to “demonize” anyone.

      First of all, I don’t view these people as intellectual opponents. They are political opponents in an argument about whether this country will continue to have freedom of religion and speech as it always has had or it will accede to their demands to use the law to create a secularist tyranny to drive people of faith from the marketplace of ideas.

      Second, while I do not think that atheists are demons or demon-possessed, I do believe that anyone who espouses legalizing medical murder (which is what euthanasia is,) infanticide (which is what abortions is) and many other things which I don’t have time to list here, is being influenced by the devil. I say this as someone who was once the Oklahoma Director for NARAL and who did the administrative work to open the first abortion clinic in Oklahoma. If I am demonizing anyone, it would be my own younger self.

      In truth, I was, without knowing it at all, influenced by the darkness in these things.

      Christians today, as Christians have always been, are not engaged in a war with people, per se, but with powers and principalities.

      This incredibly stupid drive to legalize murder in all sorts of ways comes from the dark side.

  • FW Ken

    Its a compliment, Bill. Rebecca is positing that the evil you espouse comes from an external source, rather than your own soul. Me, I’ve quit being surprised by the evil men do, so I’ll leave it that you certainly please the devil with your devotion to death. If he is influencing you, that mitigates your personal guilt.

    As to demonizing (cute pun) you’re opponents, perhaps you should check you posts for name-calling. You would know demonizing.

  • Bill S

    ” I’ll leave it that you certainly please the devil with your devotion to death.”

    I don’t know where to begin. You know that “the devil” is actually a creation of superstitious minds. One story about him is the temptation of Jesus in the desert. But who actually witnessed that? I hate to have to break it to you but there really is no devil.

    Second. Even if no one agrees with what the twins did, where is the “evil” in it? This is what they wanted. They chose to go out on top before they lost their quality of life. That’s OK. People should be allowed to do that.

    Lastly, I don’t recall any name calling by me or anyone else.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      They were murdered by a doctor under a terrible law which says this is ok. That is the legal evil in it. Other evils are for other conversations.
      “Even if no one agrees with what the twins did, where is the “evil” in it?”

  • Bill S

    ” I do believe that anyone who espouses legalizing medical murder (which is what euthanasia is,) infanticide (which is what abortions is) and many other things which I don’t have time to list here, is being influenced by the devil.”

    As one of those people, I strongly disagree with that belief and the labels that you use. But I respect you for all that you have done and continue to do and I get a lot out of these conversations. I do contemplate responses to the beliefs that I state. I could be wrong from time to time.

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  • patrick jones

    i disagree with you there, i believe that Euthanasia, should be given a chance, to people that need it, want it.
    Just because you may have the life you wanted, what about a person who hasn’t the life they wanted? or a person who has abolutly nothing? and they have nothing to hold onto? depression > leading to not wanting to live anymore, is that a problem for you? does it effect you? do you watch it? do you vision it? no, you don’t, now stop going on with all this ‘murder’ malarky, and stop trying to make decisions for the human race, and they people live their lives how they want to, and die when they want to.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Euthanasia is medical murder. I do not have to be murdered myself or to watch for murder to be murder.

      Giving euthanasia “a chance” is to open the door to infamy.


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