Died: April 24, 2010
Age at death: 38
Cause of death: Suicide by euthanasia
Tine Nys, a 38-year-old Belgian woman, had recently broken up with a serious boyfriend, and she was grieving the loss. At the time, she had a history of psychological problems, though she had been doing well and hadn't needed a psychologist for fifteen years. But the breakup triggered an episode of depression which Tine found herself unable to overcome.
Euthanasia is legal in Belgium for anyone with an incurable condition, including psychiatric conditions; someone seeking euthanasia must get the approval of three doctors and must have an incurable illness. Tine, who had depression, which is curable, found a doctor to diagnose her with autism, which is not.
Tine, at her own request, was euthanized by lethal injection.
Whether Tine was actually autistic may never be known. However, it was the diagnosis of autism which made her eligible for euthanasia, and it was the doctors who labeled her autistic who could not see that what was making her want to die was her episodic and curable depression--not her life-long possible autism.
Although Tine chose death for herself, the doctors who enabled her suicide did so because they believed that life with autism was so bad that a reasonable person might prefer death. They did not attempt to treat her depression or help her find autism therapy. Tine had not had any treatment for fifteen years; one could hardly claim that all viable options had been exhausted. But, with the diagnosis of autism, this suicidal woman was able to find three doctors who, instead of trying to help her, agreed that she was justified in seeking death.
Twee zussen getuigen: "Euthanasie van Tine was amateuristisch"
A peek behind Belgium’s euthanasia curtain
Family of Woman With Autism Upset She Was Euthanized Just Because She Was Depressed