A terminally ill child has become the first minor to be helped to die since Belgium voted to allow voluntary euthanasia for children in 2014.
The head of Belgium’s federal euthanasia commission, Wim Distelmans, gave no details other than to say it was an exceptional case of a child with a terminal illness that a local doctor had reported last week.
“Fortunately there are very few children who are considered, but that does not mean we should refuse them the right to a dignified death,” Distelmans told a Belgian newspaper.
Belgium legalised euthanasia in 2002 and two years ago amended the rules to become the first country in the world to permit doctors to help terminally ill minors of any age to die. Children of any age are allowed to choose to end their suffering, as long as they are able to make rational decisions and are in the final stages of an incurable disease.
Any request for euthanasia must be made by the minor, be studied by a team of doctors and an independent psychiatrist or psychologist, and have parental consent. In the Netherlands the practice is allowed for children aged at least 12.
Between 2003 and 2013, the number of patients being euthanised in Belgium rose nearly eight-fold to 8,752 , according to the national euthanasia control committee’s records.
Source : https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/sep/17/terminally-ill-child-first-helped-to-die-belgium