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.
Here’s more from the Telegraph featuring Dr. David Dufour, who presided over the euthanasia decision that was carried out on December 14, 2012:
“They were very happy. It was a relief to see the end of their suffering,” he said.After its initial report, which did not name the brothers, the Telegraph in a separate article identified them as Marc and Eddy Verbessem. The story had an added controversial twist at this point as the Telegraph reported the first time the twins requested euthanasia, they were denied. They sought out a hospital that would consider their argument that they were in fact in unbearable pain at the thought of not seeing each other and would allow for the mercy killing they requested.
“They had a cup of coffee in the hall, it went well and a rich conversation. The separation from their parents and brother was very serene and beautiful. At the last there was a little wave of their hands and then they were gone.”
Here’s what the twins’ older brother Dirk Verbessem told the Telegraph:
“Many will wonder why my brothers have opted for euthanasia because there are plenty of deaf and blind that have a ‘normal’ life,” he said. “But my brothers trudged from one disease to another. They were really worn out.”~ from Deaf Twin Brothers in Belgium Euthanized After Finding Out They Were Also Going Blind by Liz Klimas ~
Mr. Verbessem said his twin brothers were going blind with glaucoma and that Eddy had a deformed spine and had recently undergone heart surgery.
“The great fear that they would no longer be able to see, or hear, each other and the family was for my brothers unbearable,” he said.
You know, I don't have a problem with this decision. While I may or may not have come to the same conclusion, it's their lives and deaths, not mine. The Verbessem twins should just be glad they lived in Belgium because, had they lived in the US -- even in right to die states like Oregon and Washington -- this most likely would not have been allowed.
I have never truly understood why so many people are against allowing individuals to end their own lives. It bewilders me why people who profess a steadfast belief in liberty -- particularly those who are rabid about the freedom to own guns -- would deny others the freedom to make this most personal choice. I just don't get it.