A case involving two identical twin brothers who requested to be euthanized by doctors in Brussels prompted officials with the Belgium government to postpone a proposed amendment to the country's euthanasia laws.
Twin brothers Marc and Eddy Verbesse, 45-years-old, began having issues with their sight several years ago. Both men were already deaf and learning that they were both going blind as well proved to be more then the two could handle.
Saying they could not bear the thought of not being able to see one another, the men told doctors at Brussels University Hospital that they wanted to be euthanized. On Monday, officials with the hospital announced that despite neither of the men suffering from a terminal illness, doctors supported the men's decision to be euthanized and allowed them to receive lethal injections on December 14, 2012.
David Dufour, the doctor who presided over the euthanasia, told USA Today that the men were happy with their decision, saying:
"It was a relief to see the end of their suffering. They had a cup of coffee in the hall, it went well, and a rich conversation. The separation from their parents and brother was very serene and beautiful. At the last, there was a little wave of their hands, and then they were gone."
In 2002, Belgium legalized euthanasia. The law states:
"To make a legitimate euthanasia request, the patient must be an adult, must be conscious and legally competent at the moment of making the request, and must be in a condition of constant and unbearable physical or psychological suffering resulting from a serious and incurable disorder caused by illness or accident, for which medical treatment is futile and there is no possibility of improvement."
A spokesman for the hospital told Reuters:
"It's not simply that they were deaf and blind that they were granted the right to euthanasia. It is that they could no longer bear being unable to hear or see the other. Unbearable suffering can be mental as well as physical. The brothers were inseparable. They lived together and had the same job."
Days after the twins were euthanized, government officials with Belgium’s ruling Socialist party decided to postpone voting on a proposed legal amendment that would have allowed euthanasia of children and Alzheimer’s patients. The controversial change would allow minors and those suffering from dementia to seek permission to die.