Belgian Doctors to Face Trial for Euthanizing Autistic Woman

Belgian authorities are investigating a group of doctors who euthanized a 38-year-old autistic woman in 2010, after the victim’s family claimed that there were numerous “irregularities” in her death, according to a Tuesday report from the Associated Press. Two months after she was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, Tine Nys reportedly asked her doctor to euthanize her. Given that Belgium is one of the few countries where a person can legally request euthanasia to alleviate the “unbearable and untreatable” suffering of a mental health condition, her doctors complied. But in 2017, the Associated Press reported that Nys’ family had filed a complaint against her psychiatrist, Lieve Thienpont, alleging that Thienpont approved Nys’ request to die after only two or three sessions, and that she had difficulty correctly administering the life-ending drugs.

Thienpont and the other doctors who granted Nys’ request will now reportedly face trial “due to poisoning,” a Ghent prosecutor told the AP. This is not the first time Thienpont has drawn accusations of wrongdoing: The head of Belgium’s euthanasia review board reportedly believes that Thienpont might not have fulfilled all of Belgium’s legal requirements for euthanasia in previous cases. This is, however, the first criminal euthanasia case the country has faced since it legalized the practice in 2002.