Wednesday, 2 October 2013

On the death of Nathan Verhelst

Driving back from work today I was listening to the 6:00 pm news on Radio 4.

There was a story about a transsexual (female to male) in Belgian named Nathan Verhelst who was “helped to die by doctors after a series of failed sex change operations.” There’s more on the BBC web site here. There’s some more on the Daily Mail web site here and The Independent here.

I find the whole story very sad.

Reading some of the comments I find it strange how so many people want to try to fit individual unique people and circumstances into neat stereotypes. Sometimes using a single news story about a single individual to justify quite sweeping statements about entire groups of people.

It’s said that in Belgium, 2% of all deaths are now a result of euthanasia. I find that a surprisingly high number. It seems disquieting.

I’m not qualified to comment much on psychological disorders. But I find it sad to think that when faced with a person with deep problems and needs, a doctor will effectively agree that the best treatment is for the patient to die. For if the doctor didn’t agree that this was the best treatment then why would she or he help carry out the treatment?

Maybe there is a time and a place for this. But it bothers me that it could just become the easiest and lowest cost of the possible treatments.

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