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Dutch woman, 29, granted euthanasia approval on grounds of mental suffering

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the case of a 29-year-old Dutch woman, Zoraya ter Beek, who has been granted her request for assisted dying on the grounds of unbearable mental suffering. Her case has caused controversy as assisted dying for people with psychiatric illnesses in the Netherlands remains unusual, although the numbers are increasing.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Zoraya ter Beek's Case

1. What are the key details of Zoraya ter Beek's case?

  • Zoraya ter Beek, a 29-year-old Dutch woman, has been granted her request for assisted dying after a 3.5-year process under the Netherlands' 2002 law on assisted dying
  • She has chronic depression, anxiety, trauma, unspecified personality disorder, and autism, and has undergone intensive treatments including talking therapies, medication, and over 30 sessions of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • After 10 years of treatment, she felt there was "nothing left" and applied for assisted dying in December 2020
  • The process involves assessment by a team, a second opinion, and review by an independent doctor

2. What are the controversies surrounding her case?

  • Assisted dying for people with psychiatric illnesses in the Netherlands remains unusual, although the numbers are increasing
  • Her case has caused controversy, with an article about it prompting an outcry that caused her huge distress
  • Some people think that when someone is mentally ill, they cannot think straight, which Ter Beek finds insulting
  • There are concerns about people being under pressure to die and the fears that some disabled people have about assisted dying

3. How does Ter Beek feel about her decision?

  • She has never hesitated about her decision, despite feeling guilt and fear
  • She is absolutely determined to go through with it and feels relief that the long fight is coming to an end
  • She acknowledges the pain it will cause her partner, family, and friends, but believes that sometimes when you love someone, you have to let them go

[02] Assisted Dying in the Netherlands

1. What are the legal requirements for assisted dying in the Netherlands?

  • To be eligible, a person must be experiencing "unbearable suffering with no prospect of improvement"
  • They must be fully informed and competent to take such a decision

2. What are the trends in assisted dying for psychiatric cases in the Netherlands?

  • In 2010, there were 2 cases involving psychiatric suffering
  • In 2023, there were 138 cases, which is 1.5% of the 9,068 euthanasia deaths

3. What are the concerns around assisted dying for psychiatric cases?

  • There are fears that people with mental illness may not be able to think straight and make a rational decision
  • There are worries about people being under pressure to die, especially for disabled people
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