Euthanasia is a medical term for assisted suicide. Mostly used for medical reasons to end the pain and suffering of a terminally ill person or a person living with a debilitating incurable disorder.
A healthy couple – an elderly husband and wife – have announced their plans to die in the world’s first ‘couple’ euthanasia – despite neither of them being terminally ill. Instead the pair fear loneliness if the other one dies first from natural causes.
Identified only by their first names, Francis, 89, and Anne, 86, they have the support of their three adult children who say they would be unable to care for either parent if they became widowed.
Their children have even gone so far as to find a practitioner willing to carry out the double killings on the grounds that the couple’s mental anguish constituted the unbearable suffering needed to legally justify euthanasia.
The couple, from Brussels, are receiving regular medical treatment for age-related ailments.
Francis has received treatment for prostate cancer for 20 years and is unable to spend a day without morphine and Anne is partially blind and almost totally deaf.
They always go out shopping together because they are both scared that one day the other will not return home.
They decided that life in a care home was not an option because of their fear they would end up bedridden without the strength to insist on euthanasia.
They are also afraid that a good retirement home would cost more than their combined pensions and that they would have to dig into their savings to afford it.
They planned to commit suicide on February 3 next year, their 64th wedding anniversary, by placing plastic bags over their heads after taking an overdose of sleeping pills.
“We want to go together because we both fear of the future,” said Francis.
“It’s as simple as this: we are afraid of what lies ahead.
“Fear of being alone and above all, fear of the consequences of loneliness.”
He said they eventually opted for euthanasia because they were too scared to attempt to commit suicide.
“It takes courage to jump from the 20th floor and I am unable even if I wanted to do it,” said Francis.
“It takes courage to hang, it takes courage to jump into the canal. But a doctor who makes you a shot and lets you gently fall asleep? It does not take courage.”