survivor of the Brussels attacks, a young woman sacrificed for “psychological suffering”

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

Shanti De Corte had long days ahead of her. Her life was not threatened, in the short or medium term, or destroyed by unbearable physical pain. However, at her request, the Belgian doctors sacrificed her on May 7, 2022, considering that the deep psychological suffering of which she was a victim authorized her to seek medical assistance to end her life. The 2002 law admits in effect, under the heading of diseases that give rise to the possibility of requesting euthanasia, the “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 seconds on March 22, 2016, when the teenager was on her way to Rome for a graduation trip. In the departure hall of the Brussels airport, she was a few meters from the terrorists when they activated their explosive charge. 18 people will die in the attack and 92 will be injured. She is not one of them: she came out of the attack unscathed, at least on the surface. In reality, the traumatic shock she suffered in front of her will mark her forever. “There are some students who react worse than others to traumatic events. And having interviewed her twice, I can tell you that Shanti De Corte was one of those fragile students. It is clear to me that she already had serious psychological problems before the attack. So I referred her to psychiatry.“, testifies the school psychologist who followed her, with the RTBF, the French-speaking public audiovisual of Belgium.

Shanti De Corte was already fragile. She made several stays in a psychiatric hospital before the attack. She returns to the same establishment a few weeks later, she keeps a Facebook log in which she counts the antidepressants, which she takes by the dozen every day, she confesses to her relatives on the Internet: “I feel like a ghost that no longer feels anything“.

Alternative therapeutic routes were possible

During one of his stays in a psychiatric hospital, he then suffered an attempted sexual assault in 2018, by another patient. After efforts to recover and get up, she finally attempts suicide. She then makes numerous requests to resort to euthanasia. Her friends, also present on the day of the attack, climb the hill again thanks to a stay with a state-subsidized therapist. The young woman is offered to follow this course, but she refuses. Finally, Shanti De Corte approached a euthanasia lobby association, and she renewed her request: two psychiatrists, this time, accepted it. On May 7, 2022, the young woman was sacrificed along 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. But a neurologist, Paul Deltenre, is nonetheless outraged that care offers tailored to the young woman’s situation have not been tested. “there was nothing to lose“, the Mint. RTBF understands that a judicial investigation has been opened at the Antwerp prosecutor’s office, to examine the possibility of a drift in the choice to accede to the young woman’s request.

On Tuesday, October 4, the European Court of Human Rights condemned Belgium for the lack of independence of its Control Commission. In fact, Belgian lawdoes not prevent the doctor who performed the euthanasia from sitting“inside of her”and vote whether their own actions were consistent with the substantive and procedural requirements of the law“, says the ECHR, which ordered Brussels to pay 2,211.30 euros for costs and expenses to the applicant.

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