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Thread: Deaf Twins Pick Euthanasia Over Going Blind; Couldn’t Bear Not Seeing Each Other

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default Deaf Twins Pick Euthanasia Over Going Blind; Couldn’t Bear Not Seeing Each Other

    Deaf twin brothers Marc and Eddy Verbessem of Belgium decided to end their lives in tandem rather than go blind.

    The 45-year-olds, who lived and worked as cobblers together their entire adult lives, were doomed to blindness by a genetic form of glaucoma, and couldn't bear the thought of being unable to see each other, according to their family.

    Their older brother Dirk and their parents, Mary and Remy, attempted to talk them out of it, but were eventually persuaded that it was for the best.

    It took the brothers two years, but they eventually found a doctor willing to perform the lethal injection.

    "They were very happy. It was a relief to see the end of their suffering," said the family's physician, Dr. David Dufour. "They had a cup of coffee in the hall, it went well and a rich conversation. The 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."

    The euthanasia was a first for Belgium, which legalized the practice in 2002.

    "It's the first time in the world that a 'double euthanasia' has been performed on brothers," said the euthanizing doctor, Professor Wim Distelmans of Brussels University Hospital.

    Belgium requires that patients who seek euthanasia be consenting adults who make their decision in "full conscience." Also, it must be determined that patients are "suffering unbearable pain."

    Distelmans said blindness "was certainly unbearable psychological suffering for them," but added that other doctors might interpret suffering differently.

    Euthanasia remains controversial in Belgium, even as the socialist government moves to allow euthanasia of minors and patients with Alzheimer's.

    Deaf Twins Pick Euthanasia Over Going Blind; Couldn't Bear Not Seeing Each Other
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    A*O
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    Hmmmmmm. This is a tricky one. While I support euthanasia for anyone with a terminal illness who wishes to be spared the mental and physical pain of a long, lingering death I'm not sure these two qualified. It's their right to end their lives but is it fair or ethical to ask a doctor to do the deed? I guess in this case we have to define "suffering" and that's the problem.
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    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A*O View Post
    Hmmmmmm. This is a tricky one. While I support euthanasia for anyone with a terminal illness who wishes to be spared the mental and physical pain of a long, lingering death I'm not sure these two qualified. It's their right to end their lives but is it fair or ethical to ask a doctor to do the deed? I guess in this case we have to define "suffering" and that's the problem.
    Good question. I am kind of torn on this one as well. I guess it is up to the doctor to opt in or out? I also wonder if they require some kind of psych eval to determine if something like treatable depression is involved. I generally support the right to die in terminal cases(and it often happens anyway shadily between the pt., dr. nurses, relatives and some heavy duty morphine anyway), but when it is outside of those strict boundaries it becomes difficult and complex.

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    A*O
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    I know that many terminally ill patients are "helped on their way" by doctors following those patients wishes and the implicit support of the family. My dying MIL made it crystal clear to her docs, and us, that she wanted to go as quickly and painlessly as possible and so that's exactly what happened. But she had advanced breast cancer that had spread to her spine and she was in agonising pain and sinking fast. Some extra morphine administered at the appropriate time did the job perfectly BUT the docs had to be absolutely certain that her family wasnt going to kick up a fuss which of course we didn't. My father slipped away under similar circumstances.

    My problem with these twins is that they weren't terminally ill. I think that's the crucial point and it opens up a huge can of worms IMO.
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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    I don't think we should get a vote. They were old enough to make a careful decision and had ample time to consider all viewpoints. Their quality of life would have been greatly diminshed. When it is my turn, I hope no one spits hairs over my decision. That decision was theirs alone. Brave men.
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    Yes, but they involved a third party and a doctor at that. But I guess he could always have said "No". Or they could have taken matters into their own hands as many do.
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    Elite Member Sarzy's Avatar
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    Good for Belgium, I wish we had that here. Can you imagine being completely deaf and blind? It's no way to exist imo.

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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    I don't think we should get a vote. They were old enough to make a careful decision and had ample time to consider all viewpoints. Their quality of life would have been greatly diminshed. When it is my turn, I hope no one spits hairs over my decision. That decision was theirs alone. Brave men.
    We don't get a vote, fortunately. They're pretty dead.
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    That story had me crying all morning.it upsets and saddens me so much..what a fucking fate poor brothers had..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brookie View Post
    We don't get a vote, fortunately. They're pretty dead.
    The problem is that people do get a vote. IMO, this is a highly personal decision that no one has the right to question,yet they play Judge and jury. Who knows how many people with horrid medical issues are forced to shoot themselves or jump on front of a train. When I say I am pro choice, I mean it. They have the right to die with dignity, assisted by a doctor and to go painlessly into the night. It should not matter what Country you are born in. We all need to show compassion
    and be supportive like the twins family did. No note, just a quiet conversation and hugs.
    Quote Originally Posted by effie2 View Post
    That story had me crying all morning.it upsets and saddens me so much..what a fucking fate poor brothers had..
    Yes, they had a harsh diagnosis. To be deaf and blind and no longer able to care for themselves in everyday life would be hard for any adult. I think they looked for any viable solution first and reached his decision after much thought. Imagine locked in a dark totally quiet room for the rest of your life. Most of us would go starkers.
    They took charge and freed themselves. Mother always said there are some things worse than death. This seems to be one of those things.
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    Elite Member whitetigeress's Avatar
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    Two words... Helen Keller.
    Without my aids, I'm completely deaf too and lately I've been experiencing blindness in my right eye whenever I get a migraine. So.. I can kinda see where the brothers are coming from.
    Yes, it is hard.. some days bloody hard. Other days, a breeze.
    I'm not crying over my "horrible fate". I'm sure Keller didn't either.
    I think those brothers simply gave up.
    Meh.....
    their choice.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    No need for quotes on horrible fate, what these men were facing actually was one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by whitetigeress View Post
    Two words... Helen Keller.
    Without my aids, I'm completely deaf too and lately I've been experiencing blindness in my right eye whenever I get a migraine. So.. I can kinda see where the brothers are coming from.
    Yes, it is hard.. some days bloody hard. Other days, a breeze.
    I'm not crying over my "horrible fate". I'm sure Keller didn't either.
    I think those brothers simply gave up.
    Meh.....
    their choice.

    Its completely different. Helen Keller was never able to see and hear. She never knew what she was missing. These men had only their sight and it was being taken from them by shitty genetics. I fully support their right to not want to live in what would essentially be an isolation chamber for the rest of their lives.
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    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    I can't imagine being deaf and then going completely blind. Their lives would be very difficult. The simple things they were able to enjoy would be gone and they would need almost constant care. They decided that is no way for them to live. I certainly wouldn't want to argue with them. Quality of life means something different to everyone. I can't imagine many people being able to happily life under these circumstances.

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    Living in a dark, silent world would be absolutely horrible. I don't blame them one bit for checking out. And I truly believe if someone really wants out because, for whatever reason, life is just not worth living any more, they should be able to do so in a dignified, painless manner.
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