LONDON (AP) — Belgian officials are investigating whether doctors improperly euthanized a woman with autism, the first criminal investigation in a euthanasia case since the practice was legalized in 2002.
Three doctors from East Flanders are being investigated on suspicion of having “poisoned” Tine Nys in 2010. The 38-year-old had been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism, two months before she died in an apparently legal killing by a doctor.
Belgium is one of two countries, along with the Netherlands, where euthanasia of people for psychiatric reasons is allowed if they can prove they have “unbearable and untreatable” suffering. Among Belgians euthanized for mental health reasons, the most common conditions are depression, personality disorder and Asperger’s. Many experts — in Belgium and beyond— dispute whether autism should be considered a valid reason to be killed.