Depressed 24-Year-Old Granted the Right to Die

'Laura' says she has been depressed since childhood
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2015 3:45 PM CDT
Updated Jul 5, 2015 8:20 AM CDT
Depressed 24-Year-Old Granted Right to Die
A stock photo, not Laura.   (Shutterstock)

Euthanasia has been legal in Belgium for more than a decade, and 2013 saw 1,807 euthanasia cases in the country, per the Guardian. Occasionally, individual deaths garner international attention, as in the case of the pair of deaf identical twins who were euthanized in December 2012 after learning they would go blind and not see each other again. Now, another case is grabbing headlines, this time of a woman who has not yet died, but has been granted the right to do so. The Independent has the story of "Laura" by way of the local De Morgen. The 24-year-old does not have a terminal illness; rather, she suffers from depression but, as Newsweek puts it, is "otherwise healthy." She became a patient at a psychiatric facility three years ago after suffering from depression since childhood, she says.

"Death feels to me not as a choice. If I had a choice, I would choose a bearable life, but I have done everything and that was unsuccessful," the Independent quotes her as telling the local paper. It hasn't yet been established when she will die. In a piece published last month that has enhanced timeliness now, Rachel Aviv asked in the New Yorker: "When should people with a non-terminal illness be helped to die?" Her article details the case of Godelieva De Troyer, who had suffered from depression since age 19 and, after meeting Wim Distelmans—a professor of palliative medicine who has had a hand in more than 100 deaths by euthanasia—died with his help at age 64 in 2012. Her son has since challenged the laws around euthanasia, laws that Aviv writes "seem to have created a new conception of suicide as a medical treatment, stripped of its tragic dimensions." (More euthanasia stories.)

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