Research

Euthanasia in Belgium: 2002 and 2003

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The Report of the Federal Control and Evaluation Commission Covering the Year 2003

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Belgium legalised voluntary euthanasia in 2002 for persons who are legally competent and "in a medically futile condition of constant and unbearable physical or mental suffering that cannot be alleviated, resulting from a serious and incurable disorder caused by illness or accident". The 2002 Act created a Federal Control and Evaluation Commission (FCEC) to report biannually on the operation of the law.

Here we provide the French-language version of the FCEC report for Years 2002-03 (an English translation is not available).

The report shows that there were 259 reported cases of euthanasia in Belgium in 2002-3.

It is also interesting to note the disparity between the incidence of euthanasia in Dutch-speaking Flanders and in French-speaking Wallonia: 216 (83 per cent) of the 259 reported cases were from the former.

167 (64 per cent) of the reported cases were of persons aged over 60 and over half of them (54 per cent) took place in hospital. We are told that "the commission was not able to assess the proportion of the number of euthanasias reported as against the number actually carried out".

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