A teenager in Belgium is to be the first minor to be euthanized since restrictions were removed two years ago.
A 17-year-old boy from Belgium is expected to be the firsst minor to have assisted suicide since euthanasia age restricted were removed two years ago, according to media reports. The teenager has a terminal illness and is suffering great pain, according to the head of the federal euthanasia commission.
Belgium is the only country, along with the Netherlands, in which minors can opt for assisted suicide. The requirement is that they have rational decision making capacity and be in the final stages of their illness. The parents must also provide their consent.
The process will involve giving the boy palliative sedation, which would involve putting him into a coma.
Age restrictions in Belgium were lifted in 2014. The law says the child must face “unbearable physical suffering” and have requested to die multiple times before officials will consider allowing euthanasia.
But the decision is not without opposition. Many church leaders and some pediatricians are opposed to it.
Wikipedia describes the following conditions for assisted suicide under Belgian law; “The patient must be an adult and in a ‘futile medical condition of constant and unbearable physical or mental suffering that cannot be alleviated.’ The patient must have a long-term history with the doctor, with euthanasia/physician assisted suicide only allowed for permanent residents. There need to be several requests that are reviewed by a commission and approved by two doctors. As of November 2015, Belgium had the most liberal assisted suicide laws in the world.”