Man Who Had No Idea His Mom Was Euthanized Until the Morgue Called Challenges Euthanasia Law

International   Sarah Zagorski   Feb 6, 2015   |   1:24PM    Brussels, Belgium

In April 2012, Godelieva De Troyer died from lethal injection in Belgium after she asked to be put to death for “untreatable depression.” Her son, Tom Mortier, didn’t find out until the next day when the morgue called him to come pick up her body. He said, “I was completely shocked and traumatized.”

As LifeNews previously reported, Mortier explained that he had been disconnected from his family and didn’t know that his mother was so depressed. He said that after his mother’s last relationship ended, she broke off contact with him and his children because she was worried that he was the same as his father who committed suicide when he was 5 years old. Unfortunately, in seeking euthanasia his mother asked doctors to not contact her children.

Now Mortier is taking his mother’s case to the European Court of Human Rights because be believes the rules no longer respect the feelings of relatives. According to the Telegraph, he also says that at least two of the experts who assessed her did not agree that her depressive illness was beyond treatment.

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He said, “If you made a movie about what’s happening, people just wouldn’t believe it, but in Belgium, it’s reality. You should not give a physician the right, or the legal possibility, to give someone a lethal injection, and definitely not to people with mental illnesses or older people tired of life. These are people who should be helped.”

A euthanasia advocate, Gilles Genicot, who’s also a lawyer and co-chairman of the “commission de controle et d’évaluation de l’euthanasie” defended Belgium’s “mercy killing” legislation. He said, “The law enables people to wait until, say, their daughter or grand daughter’s birthday and decide who to invite. They have a glass of champagne, listen to music. Nothing is automatic. It takes a lot of time and a lot of requests are not granted by the doctors.”

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Unbelievably, he completely dismissed Mr Mortier’s case as “really not something that we care about.”

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The doctor who carried out euthanasia on Mr Mortier’s mother was Professor Wim Distelmans, an oncologist (cancer specialist) and expert in palliative care. A charismatic advocate for the right to elect for death in cases of “unbearable suffering,” he is something of a celebrity figure in Belgium.

He tours the country, dressed casually in jeans and a polo shirt, giving joke-filled talks at rallies on how to request euthanasia. He is estimated to have administered euthanasia to more than 1,000 people.

Last year, he came under fire after organising a tour to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, which he described in a leaflet as an “inspiring venue” for discussions on the euthanasia issues. He said the camp was “the pre-eminent symbol of a degrading end of life”.

Dr Distelmans declined to comment to the Sunday Telegraph. But he acts within the terms of a Belgian law first agreed in 2002, by which adults can be killed by lethal injection if they express “unbearable psychological suffering”.

Mr Mortier is trying to take his mother’s case to the Strasbourg court under the “right to life” legislation in the European Convention of Human Rights. He hopes, at the very least, to trigger some debate in his country, and secure greater oversight in the way the existing rules are applied.

The decisions to approve the 8,000 or so cases that have been carried out over the last 12 years are overseen by a 16-member federal commission for the “control and evaluation of euthanasia. Critics, such as Mr Mortier, argue that the commission, which is chaired by Dr Distelmans, is packed with advocates of euthanasia.