by Jonathan Blake, BBC, 9 June 2016
Last month the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme reported on the case of ‘Sébastien’, a 39-year old Belgian man who has been accepted for euthanasia after 17 years of therapy, counselling and medication relating to his sexuality.
“I have always thought about death. Looking back on my earliest memories, it’s always been in my thoughts. It’s a permanent suffering, like being a prisoner in my own body,” he says.
“A constant sense of shame, feeling tired, being attracted to people you shouldn’t be attracted to – as though everything were the opposite of what I would have wanted.”
For Gilles Genicot, lecturer in medical law at the University of Liege, and member of the euthanasia review committee, Sébastien’s case does not fulfil the legal criteria for euthanasia.
“It’s more likely he has psychological problems relating to his sexuality. I cannot find a trace of actual psychic illness here.
“But what you cannot do is purely rule out the option of euthanasia for such patients.
“They can fall within the scope of the law once every reasonable treatment has been tried unsuccessfully and three doctors come to the conclusion that no other option remains.”
Sébastien’s request for euthanasia has been accepted initially, he now faces further assessments to determine whether his case fits within the law.
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