Tuesday 24 April 2018

Sex abuse victim (20s) allowed to choose euthanasia due to ‘unbearable’ PTSD

The Netherlands (Photo: Getty Images)
The Netherlands (Photo: Getty Images)

Meadhbh McGrath

A young victim of sexual abuse has been allowed to undergo euthanasia via lethal injection after doctors decided that her post-traumatic stress was incurable.

The woman, who has not been named, was in her 20s and living in the Netherlands.

According to papers released by the Dutch Euthanasia Commission, she suffered sexual abuse between the ages of five and 15.

As a result of the decade of abuse, she experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as anorexia, chronic depression, tendencies to self-harm and hallucinations, the MailOnline reports.

“There was no prospect or hope for her. The patient experienced her suffering as unbearable,” her psychiatrist said.

Doctors said her mental state had started to improve after an intensive course of trauma therapy, which the paper said was “temporarily partially successful”.

However, the woman is reported to have been almost entirely bedridden, and doctors eventually decided her case was beyond treatment, so they agreed to assist her death with a lethal injection.

She was deemed “totally competent” by doctors, and the papers said there was “no major depression or other mood disorder which affected her thinking”.

Euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands since 2002.

The details of the case were released by Dutch authorities to prove that doctors followed correct medical procedure and to justify euthanasia laws, but the papers have caused controversy in the UK, where a vigorous debate about assisted dying is ongoing.

British Labour MP Robert Flello condemned the case as “horrendous”.

“It almost sends the message that if you are the victim of abuse, and as a result you get a mental illness, you are punished by being killed, that the punishment for the crime of being a victim is death.

“It serves to reinforce why any move towards legalising assisted suicide, or assisted dying, is so dangerous,” he said.

Nikki Kenward of the disability rights group Distant Voices added: “It is both horrifying and worrying that mental health professionals could regard euthanasia in any form as an answer to the complex and deep wounds that result from sexual abuse.”

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