Survivor of the Brussels attacks, a young woman put to sleep because of “mental illness”.

RTBF this week revealed the story of Shanti De Corte, a Belgian woman who survived a bomb blast at Brussels airport. After several suicide attempts, the young woman, who was suffering from psychiatric consequences, was put to sleep last May.

Shanti De Corte had long days ahead of him. His life was not threatened in the short or medium term, nor was it destroyed by unbearable physical pain. However, at her request, the Belgian doctors euthanized her on May 7, 2022, considering that the deep psychological suffering she was undergoing entitled her to seek medical help to end her life put. In fact, the 2002 law, under the heading Diseases justifying the possibility of asking for euthanasia, allows that “unbearable mental suffering“. Of the 1,500 patients euthanized each year in Belgium, about fifty are euthanized for this reason.

Shanti De Corte’s life was ruined in a matter of seconds on March 22, 2016 when the teenager was heading to Rome for a graduation trip. In the departure hall of Brussels airport, she was only a few meters away from the terrorists when they detonated their explosive device. 18 people are killed and 92 injured in the attack. She’s not one of them: she survived the attack unscathed – at least on the surface. In reality, the traumatic shock she suffered head-on will leave a lasting mark on her. “There are students who react worse than others to traumatic events. And after interviewing her twice, I can tell you that Shanti De Corte was one of those fragile students. It is clear to me that she had serious psychological problems even before the attack. So I referred her to psychiatry“ testifies the school psychologist who followed her, with the RTBF, the French-speaking public audiovisual Belgium.

Shanti De Corte was already fragile. Before the attack, she spent several stays in a psychiatric hospital. She returns to the same facility a few weeks later, keeps a log on Facebook counting the antidepressants she takes by the dozen every day, confides to her relatives on the Internet: “I feel like a ghost that doesn’t feel anything anymore“.

Alternative therapies were possible

Then in 2018, during one of her stays in a psychiatric hospital, she suffered an attempted sexual assault by another patient. After attempts to recover and get up, she eventually attempts suicide. Then makes numerous requests for euthanasia. Her friends, who were also present the day of the attack, are making it back up the slope thanks to a state-subsidized visit to a therapist. The young woman is offered to attend this course, but she declines. Eventually, Shanti De Corte contacted an association that advocates euthanasia, and she renewed her request: this time, two psychiatrists accepted her. On May 7, 2022, the young woman was euthanized with her family at the age of 23.

The Federal Commission for the Control and Evaluation of Euthanasia in Belgium, the CFCEE, found nothing to complain about. Despite everything, neurologist Paul Deltenre is outraged that the care options tailored to the young woman’s situation have not been tried. “There was nothing to lose‘ he laments. RTBF understands that a judicial inquiry has been opened at the Antwerp Public Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the possibility of a discrepancy in the decision to grant the young woman’s application.

On Tuesday October 4th, the European Court of Human Rights condemned Belgium for the lack of independence of its control commission. Indeed, the Belgian lawdoes not prevent the doctor who performed the euthanasia from sitting“in this”and to vote on whether its own actions are consistent with the substantive and procedural requirements of the law“, notes the ECtHR, which ordered Brussels to pay 2211.30 euros for costs and expenses to the applicant.

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