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Euthanasia approved for Belgian twins because of approaching blindness

January 14, 2013

A pair of Belgian twins were euthanized in December, at their own request, because they were going blind.

The twins—who have not been identified—told doctors that they wanted to die because they could not cope with the prospect of losing their vision. Born deaf, the 45-year-old men had spent their lives living and working together.

Belgian law allows for euthanasia if a doctor certifies that the patient is suffering extreme pain. The case of the identical twins breaks new ground because they were not experiencing physical pain. The doctor who carried out the lethal injection said that they had made their decision to die with full understanding of the situation. “It was a relief to see the end of their suffering,” he said.

Belgium’s government has recently advanced a proposal to broaden access to assisted suicide, enabling children and adults suffering from dementia to seek euthanasia.


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