A pair of identical twins, who were born deaf, have been killed by Belgian doctors after seeking euthanasia when they found out they would also soon go blind. In a unique case under the country’s euthanasia laws, the 45-year-old brothers, from Antwerp, chose death as they were unable to bear the thought of never seeing one another again.
The unnamed twins who died together: They were euthanised by doctors at Brussels University Hospital, in Jette, on December 14, by lethal injection after spending their entire lives together
They were euthanised by doctors at Brussels University Hospital, in Jette, on December 14 by lethal injection after spending their entire lives together. Euthanasia is legal under Belgian law if those making the decision can make their wishes clear and are suffering unbearable pain, according to a doctor’s judgement.
The Belgian law differs from that of Switzerland, famous for its Dignitas clinic, where only ‘assisted suicide’ is permitted. This means patients must play an active role in the administration of the drug that ends their lives.
In Belgium, some 1,133 cases of euthanasia – mostly for terminal cancer – were recorded in 2011, about one percent of all deaths in the country, according to official figures.
But this case was unusual as neither twin was suffering extreme physical pain or was terminally ill.
The two brothers, who have not been named but were pictured on Belgian television, both worked as cobblers and shared a flat together, The Telegraph has reported.
David Dufour, the doctor who presided over the euthanasia, told RTL television news the twins had taken the decision in ‘full conscience’. He said they were ‘very happy’ and it was a ‘relief’ to see the end of their suffering.
‘They had a cup of coffee in the hall, it went well and a rich conversation’, Mr Dufour said.
‘Then the separation from their parents and brother was very serene and beautiful’. ‘At last there was a little wave of their hands and then they were gone.’