Euthanasia performed on a minor for first time in Belgium

Euthanasia has been carried out on an underage person for the first time in Belgium, under a law introduced in early 2014, the head of the country's euthanasia commission confirmed Saturday.

Professor Wim Distelmans was notified this week of the procedure, he told dpa. Under Belgian law, the commission has to be informed within four days of the patient being euthanized.

No details were available on the minor, who had been terminally ill.

Doctors in Belgium can euthanize children of any age if they are incurably ill and experiencing "unbearable physical suffering," Distelmans said. The procedure requires the parents' approval and a psychological evaluation of the patient's mental state.

"There are thankfully only a few children who come into consideration, but this does not mean that we should deny them the right to a dignified death," the professor told Het Nieuwsblad daily, which first reported Saturday of the case.

Belgium became the first country in 2014 to drop all age restrictions on euthanasia. Alongside the Netherlands and Luxembourg, it is one of the few European countries where euthanasia is legal.

Last update: Sat, 17/09/2016 - 10:52

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