Criminal Case Spurs a Rethink of Euthanasia for ‘Mental Illness’

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From Medscape: “The recent launch of a criminal investigation into a case of medically assisted death for psychiatric illness in Belgium, reported by multiple media sources, is shining a spotlight on growing concerns — even among supporters — about the controversial practice.

The criminal allegations, which reportedly mark the first investigation of medically assisted euthanasia in that country since it was legalized in 2002, are related to the 2010 death of a 38-year-old woman with Asperger syndrome, a mild form of autism.

As reported by the Associated Press, the investigation stems from alleged ‘irregularities’ in the procedure, which include a doctor asking the patient’s father to hold the needle in place while the lethal injection was administered.

The family has also reportedly questioned the patient’s diagnosis of Asperger syndrome, suggesting instead that she was suffering from depression due to a recent breakup.

If convicted, the three doctors involved, who have been accused of ‘poisoning’ the woman, could face a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Among them is Lieve Thienpont, PhD, a prominent advocate for medically assisted death, who, according to the AP, is estimated to have been involved in about one third of assisted deaths for psychiatric reasons that have taken place in Belgium since euthanasia was legalized.

There are also broader accusations that Thienpont and others have too easily granted requests for assisted death for mental illness, prompting calls to rethink the entire process.”

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13 COMMENTS

  1. This remains a matter of the right of the individual to end their life and depressed people don’t need patriarchal rules in the name of protection.

    Suicide prevention measures aren’t working so maybe it’s time to change the oppressive environment instead of shaming, drugging or otherwise forcing people to continue to live lives that make them miserable.

      • There are no programs that make people’s families love and include them. Some people are in fact disposable. Forcing people to continue to live in extreme isolation is wrong. Funneling them into psychiatric care for attempting to end their lives is wrong. My life, and always my choice whether to live it. And same for everyone else. This is just another incidence where force and coercion is used to make people comply with social standards that make them miserable.

    • I believe Szazs would argue she had a right to kill herself but the doctors shouldn’t get involved. After all you don’t need a medical degree to end a life.

      Kind of pompous of doctors actually.

      I refrained from suicide as a matter of conscience. I owe psychiatry NOTHING in that respect.

    • Did the patient want to die? Maybe. In this case.

      Think about it. They can try pointless, brain damaging regimens of drugs and psycho surgery on “patients” against their will–often killing them as a side effect of Standard Care. All against their will since the “SMI” don’t know what’s good for ’em and “no” means “yes.”

      Why not extend this same line of reasoning to euthanasia?
      “Yes, Mrs. Mable says she wants to live. But as a Paranoid Schizophrenic she’s delusional when she thinks her life has meaning. Better do the humane thing and put the poor sicko down immediately. Aren’t we humane?” 😛

  2. This is where the meaning quality of life comes into it. Most people diagnosed with a mental illness have poor quality of life. When prescribed several medications at once because a doctor doesn’t know what else to do for his patient isn’t helpful either. Stigma at work too. Flexible working hours would suit most mentally ill people. If given the chance we could work and be useful citizens in society. We don’t have to be long term patients.

    As for assisted death. Once dead you are completely out of it and don’t suffer anymore. The best way for people with psychological conditions has not been found for the majority. Society needs to change and this can take decades. People will still suffer though and those involved will attempt to find a way round this. Especially loved ones. Nobody knows more than them how their relatives suffer.

    I wish I was dead quite often and there are times I would appreciate assistance in this. I am not ill all of the time and quite rational now but only yesterday I was suicidal. Not caused by drugs. Caused by my lifestyle. Could things have been different yes of course butthere were no opportunities for work where I live. I don’t have the privilege of a good education behind me something I am not ashamed about.

    Consent is the question.

    • Ok. Finally a post where you and I can agree on a lot of things. I agree that a lot of people choose to end their lives, not because they are “mentally ill” but because of what is going on in their lives. Just because I tried to kill myself doesn’t mean that my attempts had one, blessed thing to do with being “ill”. It had everything to do with the fact that I was overwhelmed, isolated, and that I was in the very depths of grieving for the deaths of my mother and my sister within the period of one year. And the stupid psychiatrists dismissed my grieving as being totally unimportant! They were absolutely no help to me at all. I had to find balance and well-being and health on my own and through the care and concern of very good friends.

  3. i believe people should be free to kill themselves. i say that as a Christian, btw…basically, I hope and pray for more people to find hope and meaning and purpose in life, but I also recognize the individual’s -right- to suicide.

    personally, my problem is that the suicide is handled by the medical establishment, which on the practical end is kind of helpful, because it makes effective means of suicide available…

    but it also gives more power to the medical establishment and the therapeutic state, and it does so while claiming that this is some sort of “progress” or…something.

    I do not have faith in mental illness, but because I am a Christian, I now have a belief system that calls some bad actions, some individuals “wicked” and then on the more extreme end of the spectrum one finds “evil.” I am starting to believe that psychiatry and much of the rest of the Mental health industry is actually quite evil. The psych guilds function as evil forms of social control in a fallen, wicked world, basically. and…

    this Liev Thienpont individual strikes me as quite wicked, possibly evil. she’s an especially adept liar and con artist in an industry devoted to big lies and massive frauds…

    but maybe she’s just, in an odd way, more honest about things? she apparently uses her position, her authority, to facilitate the deaths of misfits, “mental patients,” etc. I find that reprehensible, but is it really that much worse than providing “treatment” that ends in suicide, a premature death in poverty, homelessness, incarceration? This woman is obviously pushing death, but isn’t that true of the entire industry?

  4. No, the psychiatric profession is not promoting death on the contrary it is attempting to save lives. However doctors are not trained correctly and there are no tests for people. This is where so many mistakes are made and so many people continue to suffer. I do not believe psychiatry is a form of social control or eugenics. I believe that doctors and nurses go into the profession to care for people.

    I am not a christian but I believe in life after death and I believe every baby is born innocent and life experiences make us who we turn out to be. I believe anyone can change at any time.

    Can I ask you one question. If you were in say a car accident and critically injured would you refuse help from para medics and doctors and nurses?. You can’t say that those treating injuries are using social control. This is the same with psychiatrists they are doctors just like Dr Peter. I just think that the majority of doctors are not trained properly.

    Then there is the question what if I take my own life and have assistance in this?. I don’t feel suicidal now and believe it or not I am very glad to be alive and I am grateful I have remained alive for my son’s sake. He needs me.

    I have found a doctor I believe can help and I am expecting a phone call from one of his practitioners on Monday. If people on here would like I will tell you of my outcome. I don’t believe my suicidal thoughts are because I am ill. I think it is something else and I think this practitioner who believes in nutrients affecting the body can help me.

    I met Sandra Breakspeare in 2015 and she told me all about her charity Chy Sawel and her son Anthony who was incarcerated in a mental institution for 10 years. He did get very bad unfortunately and now he has died this year.

    Hers is the saddest story I have ever heard and I intend to keep on supporting her charity which is named after her son Anthony now. She searched the world for help for her son and found Dr William J Walsh Phd who resides in America. I believe he can help me and my son. So I am going to find out.

    • The challenge I see here is that you can’t really compare a car accident to being suicidal or hearing voices. In a car accident, you can see broken bones, bleeding, bruises, you can check pupil dilation or reflexes or a hundred other little things that tell you what’s going on. But as you say, you can’t do this with psychiatric diagnoses. In fact, one could easily invent a psychiatric diagnosis by choosing any behavior you think is “unhealthy” and calling it a “disorder.” We have stupid things like “internet addiction disorder” and “mathematics disorder” and “oppositional defiant disorder” which are obviously just observations and judgments about certain behavior. There is, as you say, no test.

      The part I’d like you to think about is the question of why, when there is so much research and information on the dangers of these drugs, the psychiatric profession is not interested in investigating things like Soteria House or Open Dialog or even stuff like nutritional approaches or other forms of helping like “hearing voices” groups and other peer support? While they often give lip service to some of these ideas, they are always considered secondary or additional to the REAL treatment, which is drugs. Do you really believe the billions of dollars raked in by the drug companies don’t come into play here? There is now strong data showing that long-term use of antipsychotic drugs leads to a LOWER likelihood of ever recovering. And yet the profession continues to recommend immediate and ongoing drug “treatment” to every single person who presents as “psychotic.” Why is this?

      I’m not suggesting that the individuals at the front line are all bought off and corrupt. I’m suggesting that they all participate in a system that is based on a dishonest model of reality, and that model was constructed with the idea of making money in the forefront, not the idea of helping people get better. You said you have read “Anatomy of an Epidemic?” Bob Whitaker talks about this at length in his book.

  5. Id say that all doctors and nurses go into that profession firstly because they care but they are human too make mistakes and get dispondent with health care.

    As for Kingsley Hall, Soteria, Open Dialogue Therapy and the Hearing Voices Network none of this would have helped me. I get voices, paranoia, delusions, psychosis and mania. Never went to see a psychiatrist for 7 years from the age of 17 to 24. I had these symptoms. Therapy helped for a time but did not stop my condition.

    I think that the drug companies are vast and make billions but I think doctors use the medical systems they feel work for their patients. I certainly couldnt be a doctor and make life held decisions about patients.

    I was a nurse and know of nurses who went into the profession for the wrong reasons. Thatcher brought in better training for nurses in the UK.

    We dont advertise medications here in the UK. I think the American people are very astute and don’t believe everything they see on TV or otherwise. I think people get desperate and search for help.

    Do I believe ill ever recover I probably won’t but the hardest thing for me to live with is that my son could die young like my brother. Suicide is a slap in the face for everyone concerned.

    I have to keep myself alive.

    Im going to have tests by a practitioner in London who follows William J Walsh PhD and I’ve read the book Nutrient Power and researched about him.

    I have found a connection in what he says are symptoms and my body.

    I will let people know what happens.