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News Article

Euthanasing medical mistakes
Friday, October 18, 2013

The defeat of the Tasmanian Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill on 17 October was good news for the Apple Isle.  But Belgium, where a transgendered man was euthanased after botched surgery, has not been so fortunate.

Tom Mortier writes that some Belgian doctors “have discovered an easy way to dispose of some of their medical failures.  They can kill them.  Legally.”

Mr Mortier cites several examples, including the case of Nathan Verhelst (44) who was born as Nancy in a family which despised girls.  Nancy grew up hating her femininity.  Four years ago she began taking male hormones.  Last year her breasts were surgically removed and a penis was artificially constructed.  Belgian media showed images of Nancy as Nathan, now tattooed with a shaven head, sun-bathing on a beach. 

But the operations did not help.  “When I looked in the mirror, I was disgusted with myself,” Nathan told the local media.  “My new breasts did not match my expectations and my new penis had symptoms of rejection.  I do not want to be... a monster."

Nancy’s solution was euthanasia. After six months of counselling, her request was granted because although she was not terminally ill, she said he was experiencing unbearable psychological suffering.  She was given a lethal injection on 30 September 2013.

“Nancy Verhelst’s doctors destroyed her life,” Tom Mortier says. “But they weren’t the ones who paid the price.  She did.” 


  • Human life and dignity

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