Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Euthanasia, Belgian Style

As you know, euthanasia has become in vogue. In Canada, led by Fidel’s bastard son, the much vaunted national health service has found a way to cut down on medical costs. Let the most hopeless and difficult cases kill themselves. And they call it health care.

And then there is the case of one Shanti De Corte, a young Flemish woman who killed herself a few months ago because her psychiatrists were not able to treat her depression. The doctors who could not treat her signed on to her suicide.

After all, she wanted to die. She did not want any more treatment. Given the quality of the treatment, one is not that surprised. At a time when we have been debating the question of involuntary psychiatric commitment, in the case of potentially dangerous psychotics, ought we perhaps also to ask whether we should commit seriously depressed and suicidal individuals involuntarily? 

Rick Moran raises the salient question, (via Maggie’s Farm). I also refer you to a comprehensive article from the Belgian press. Link here.

When Shanti was first hospitalized, for having been of the victims of a terrorist bombing at the Brussels airport in 2016, she was given eleven different anti-depressants. One remarks that her psychiatrists concluded that she had had serious mental health issues before the attack.

The Belgian press described her first hospitalization, following the terrorist attack:

And if she was not physically injured, the young Flemish woman came out of the attack traumatized, as confirmed by the school psychologist who took care of the students  :

"There are some students who react worse than others to traumatic events. And having interviewed her twice, I can tell you that Shanti De Corte was one of these fragile students. For me it's Clearly, she already had serious psychological problems before the attack. So I referred her to psychiatry."

A few weeks after March 22, Shanti was hospitalized in a psychiatric facility in Antwerp. A place she knows well since she has already been there several times before the attacks. Shanti De Corte receives treatment with antidepressants there. On her Facebook wall, which she uses as a diary, Shanti talks about this medication several times:

"I get multiple meds for breakfast. And up to 11 antidepressants a day. I couldn't live without them."

"With all the drugs I'm taking, I feel like a ghost who doesn't feel anything anymore. Maybe there were other solutions than drugs."

For his part Moran also emphasizes the use of anti-depressants. He suggests that Shanti suffered from grossly incompetent mistreatment:

“Up to 11 antidepressants a day”? I have never heard of a patient being on 11 antidepressants at a time. In fact, Miss De Corte’s entire experience with mental health professionals in Belgium suggests incompetence and negligence.

And in the end, they just gave up on her.

He asks about medical incompetence. After all, how much is a patient influenced by her doctor’s attitude toward her case? What if the doctor loses all hope? Is this a motive for suicide? What would have happened if the physicians had refused to allow her this extreme treatment?

What happens if a doctor’s incompetence contributes to the “medically futile condition”? There is no way that 11 antidepressants didn’t affect her mental health in ways that could have easily contributed to her depression. And at least one doctor agrees with that.

Of course, other Belgian physicians disputed the prescribed euthanasia:

Antwerp prosecutors began an investigation after receiving complaints from a doctor at the UZC Brugman academic clinical hospital in Brussels. He said the decision to euthanize Shanti “was made prematurely.”

The Federal Commission for the Control and Evaluation of Euthanasia in Belgium didn’t see any problems with the case, but neurologist Paul Deltenre said that there were still different avenues of care and treatment available to Shanti that were not tried.

Evidently, antidepressant medications are not the only treatments. No mention here of the cognitive and other forms of talk therapy that might have been used.

Moran consider the euthanasia a medical mistake, a way to avoid dealing  with a difficult patient:

Miss De Corte’s condition was far from hopeless. To allow a 23-year-old woman to take the irretrievable step of ending her own life is irresponsible, especially when there are legitimate questions about the quality of care she received.


IamDevo said...

Another one bites the dust.
And another one gone and another one gone, another one bites the dust.
Hey, I'm gonna get you, too.
Another one bites the dust.

rotator said...

Probably meant 11 doses of antidepressants daily, not different ones, but 3-4 different meds dosed 2-3x daily each, not all of which were strictly antidepressants.

Anonymous said...

two things:

So she said she was taking 11 pills daily in her diary. Could that be inaccurate? Also, isn't suicidalness (not a real word but go with me) one of the side effects of antidepressants?

Anonymous said...

Would a sane person who went through the same events react like this woman did? Probably not. She had problems before these events and was pushed over the edge by it all. What would have saved her? The problem she faced was exacerbated by our easy 21st century life. If she was working 18 hours a day just to feed herself and survive the events she experienced would have been nothing. But she has nothing but time and no consequence if she totally wastes her time so that is what she did. She forced herself to think of nothing else than what had happened. AND all of the attention from doctors, friends and do gooders merely fueled her pyre. Such is modern life.

ErisGuy said...

What happened? Why one morning everyone shifted to believe in terrible, terrible medical (and I use that term very loosely) treatments for problems that weren’t new?

I realize, for instance, that depraved, unethical surgeons have been operating since Christine Jorgensen, but for all most all of my now long life he was regarded as a perverted freak. That switched from freakish, don’t imitate to let’s all do it in space of a few years.

What happened?

IamDevo said...

Dear ErisGuy,
"What happened" was that the culture was taken over by the female-driven therapeutic model (or more accurately I should say that the former male-driven culture of individual achievement abdicated its position of authority). Everything now wrong with us began with the Boomers (of which I am an early member) who, having been convinced God did not exist, sought a hedonistic way of life in preference to one of achievement. Men having abandoned their natural state of dominance, the vacuum was filled by women. Women, by their organic nature being non-aggressive and maternal, wanted to "mother" the world rather than discipline it, and their offspring, having been deprived of appropriate male role models, began acting like the spoiled offspring they are by nature. Curiously, we are now observing the gradual resurgence of male domination in the female therapeutic culture, by which I mean that so-called "transwoman" (more accurately pathological autogynephiliacs) have become the leading advocates for the chemical and surgical mutilation of (again, so-called) "misgendered" children. Thus, nature again establishes its preeminence, although in a topsy-turvy, utterly perverted way, so men are suddenly the most womanly of women, while retaining their masculine aggression. IT would be funny if it were not so tragic. But again, that is how ha-Satan "the deceiver" operates, isn't it? The replacement of the authenticate with its ersatz opposite is always the way on offer in this world. Abandonment of Biblical principles leads to adoption of their opposites as surely as bad money drives out good.

Linda Fox said...

Admittedly, I come out of the Catholic tradition, that sees suicide as an unacceptable giving up on God's gift of life.
But, come on! MANY young people are depressed. Or traumatized. Or seeing their future as hopeless.
It is our responsibility, as adults, to help those people to a more balanced vision of their potential future. It doesn't surprise me that paralyzed, blind, and even seriously disturbed people can come to experience satisfaction, even pleasure, with the simple fact of life.
What does surprise me is the push to seduce vulnerable people into giving up. You and your readers might want to check out the omnipresent and overbearing insistence on leading people to suicide - and, if they aren't quick to jump on the bandwagon, taking a more active role in the process.