Death of twin brothers fuels debate over Belgian euthanasia law

by Vanessa Séfriou on June 9, 2013 - 12:31am

Blog post #1: Death of twin brothers fuels debate over Belgian euthanasia law

The article is basically about the death of twin brothers of 45 years old that “fuels debate over Belgian euthanasia law.” (Wells) The controversy around their death is the cause of their death: the “why” their doctor accepted to euthanize them. In fact, the two brothers were not really “going to die” due to an incurable disease, but basically because they were going blind. According to the twins, it was a situation in which they did not want to live with: for them, it was like dying. In fact, “the law makes euthanasia an option for patients whose death is imminent and for those with a chronic degenerative illness. One of the Verbessem brothers did have breathing problems and could only sleep sitting up. The other had had surgery on his spine and had difficulty walking. But their conditions were not terminal.” (Wells) This is the reason of all this controversy: if doctors accept to assist suicides in situations where the patients are not terminal, where will it stop? The doctor David Dufour defends himself by saying that “it was clear that if there was no euthanasia they would rob themselves of their own lives.” In fact, “for the last year of their lives, they sent their doctor a letter every week asking for euthanasia.” They basically stopped eating. (Walls) Is it still justifiable? To be a person in favor of assisted suicide, I have to admit that I become a little perplex and afraid of “the expanding use of euthanasia by doctors.” I have to agree with Carine Brochier, a woman working for the European Institute of Bioethics in Brussels and whose office is in a Catholic church, who is concerned about this issue: “If all the people who have handicaps ask for euthanasia, are we going to kill them?" It is definitely a good question…

So, I chose this article to show how delicate is the euthanasia’s debate and how it can sometimes take unexpected and uncontrollable proportions. I also feel really concern by this ethical issue because I personally lived such a situation recently with my dog, and because I would personally like to have the right to be euthanized, if at a time or another in my life, I lived a terminal situation. I could leave this world in peace with myself, make all my goodbyes to my entourage and stop this unsustainable pain. This article, like I already said it above, really surprised me. I could never imagine that someone could be euthanized for a disability. This article makes me realise that in certain cases, the concept of “suffer” is not the same for everyone which can make the euthanasia debatable. Instead, I still think that assisted suicide should be legalize everywhere insofar as strict standards are implemented and where an authority control is constantly taken over it.

The ethical issue raised by this article: Should euthanasia be legalized?

Personally, I think it should by accepted as long as the person is consenting, as the person is “really” suffering from his disease and as there is no emergency exits to the person’s situation. If the person does not want to go throw all the medicinal treatments, it is her choice: in a lot of cases, these treatments are just extending the person’s pain. It also allows the person to leave this world with the dignity she deserves. It is from the person’s right to leave his entourage when she thinks is the best moment. Certain people are independent and do not want their family to waited them hand and foot. People still have their pride and joy to defend when being sick. They want to leave their entourage with a good image of themselves.

One the other hand, people can think that this practice must be totally illegal because it is synonym of killing and that it can become a means of health care cost containment.  In fact, for those people, euthanize someone means withdrawing, denying, removing, or even stealing the life of someone else. It is like choosing for another person how much time she has yet to live. They think it is a crime: people should to die naturally. And, it is without talking about the monetary side of this use: it is very costly not only for the family, but also for the state. One person less in a hospital makes a lot of savings for the states, especially in country where the health system is “free.” Sometimes, maybe the euthanasia will be used by doctors to save money and as the easy way...

Which side calls you the most: the pro-choice side or the pro-living side? Maybe a bit of both? To go back on the article, what will you have answered to Carine Brochier’s question she asks: “If all the people who have handicaps ask for euthanasia, are we going to kill them?”



Work Cited

Wells, Karin. “Death of twin brothers fuels debate over Belgian euthanasia law.” CBC News. 2013. Web. 8 May. 2013.<>



I am not against euthanasia because if you want to die in peace and with dignity it is your choice. I do not think the state can make euthanasia illegal for two main reasons. First, if they make it illegal, people would continue to ask doctors and family to help them suicide. It will creates other kinds of problem because people assisting the death person would face charges in court. If the state do this, they would only change the place of the problem. Secondly, people who want to end their days will not ask for assisted suicide. They would simply suicide themselves, in the case where they are able. I don't understand why we can force someone to live if it's own idea his already clear in its mind, dying. How we can decide for others? How can we go against their desire? We should let them do what they want regardless of the reason. Also, money is another influencing factors of euthanasia. Having sick people in a health care institution is very expansive for a state. Finally, if the illness person is decided and persuade to take the best decision, to kill himself, I feel that we cannot go against their wants and their willingness. If they are not able to be assisted in their suicide, they will find other methods.

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