A Belgian doctor has furiously denied that his country acts as a “euthanasia dispenser” for the rest of Europe after a French YouTube star said she was heading there for assisted suicide.
Dr. Yves de Locht — a Brussels physician who has been practicing euthanasia for more than a decade — made the claim in an interview with Le Parisien, which was translated by the Telegraph on Monday.
“One can euthanize young people, but specialists must certify that the disease is incurable,” de Locht declared, refuting allegations Belgium is a “death ward.”
Euthanasia has been legal in Belgium for nearly two decades, but a patient must be in “constant and unbearable physical or mental suffering that cannot be alleviated.” About 2,500 people are euthanized there every year.
The YouTube star — a 23-year-old woman known as “Olympe” to her 256,000 subscribers — recently raised eyebrows when she claimed Belgian medics will be assisting with her suicide later this year.
“In the last quarter of 2023, I will have recourse to assisted suicide in Belgium. I am already in contact with the doctors,” Olympe posted.
The popular content creator says she suffers from dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder), ADHD and mood swings. She has spent the past three years documenting her mental health struggles in viral videos.
De Locht confirmed Olympe had been in contact with him — but he blasted assertions that he or other doctors would end her life flippantly.
“I haven’t yet seen her medical dossier, but I’ve read her emails,” he stated. “She wants to meet me.”
He says it’s unlikely Olympe would be euthanized in the last quarter of 2023, saying it can take years for patients to prove they medically meet the “unbearable suffering” requirements.
“This young woman has announced the end of her life at the end of the year,” de Locht stated. “This date certainly doesn’t come from me. I need much more information before envisaging meeting her.
“Psychiatrists will have to put in place treatment and see how it evolves,” he added. “She may need to be hospitalized. It will be a very long and difficult process.”
The doc added that he regularly rejects requests for euthanasia. In spite of this, he claimed that many French citizens — such as Olympe — do consider his country a “death ward” and travel there with the hopes of assisted suicide. Euthanasia is illegal in France, but allowed in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, and Germany and countries outside Europe.
Meanwhile, Olympe — a pretty brunette who has garnered a legion of followers — says she has thought long and hard about the decision to end her life.
“It is my life, and it is a difficult decision that I have had to make,” she said in one video, according to Central Europe Newswire. “I am very tired.”
“Like every human being, I have my limits, and those limits have been pushed to the extreme for years,” she added, claiming her mental health issues have been exacerbated by child sexual abuse and gang rape.
Olympe, who reported being shuttled between foster homes as a young child, also stated: “I cannot go through any more tests. I have received messages from people who tell me what an example I set for young people, but I cannot live for others and do things according to others.
“My life is not a Netflix series,” she ominously declared. “We cannot discuss the end.”
While de Locht maintains that euthanasia is not easy in Belgium, the country has faced fierce criticism for some notable assisted suicides.
Last year, Brussels bombing survivor Shanti De Corte, 23, chose to be euthanized, saying she could no longer live with the trauma she experienced after an ISIS attack in 2016. She died on May 7, after two psychiatrists signed off on her request.
Belgian prosecutors investigated the case after a neurologist complained the young woman’s decision to end her life “was made prematurely.”
The case was closed after it was found that no violations were committed during the procedure, according to news reports.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 988 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.