Nearly 3,000 Belgians opted for euthanasia in 2022

The Federal Control and Evaluation Commission on Euthanasia (FCEE) reported on Friday that just under 3,000 Belgian patients underwent euthanasia in 2022, an increase of 9.85 per cent compared to 2021.

The commission received 2,966 registration documents regarding patients who underwent euthanasia last year. Around 70 per cent of patients were over 70 years old and 42.2 per cent were over 80 years old. Euthanasia among the under-40s remains limited (1.2 per cent) and euthanasia in minors is very rare: the last case dates back to 2019.

Most patients who opted for euthanasia suffered from cancer (59.9 per cent or 1,776 patients). Patients with a combination of several chronic and incurable diseases accounted for 19.6 per cent of the total, and in third place were diseases of the nervous system (8.9 per cent).

In 0.9 per cent of euthanasia performed, the patient chose to terminate life because of a psychiatric condition, e.g. mood disorders. Cognitive disorders such as dementia, for example Alzheimer's, accounted for 1.4 per cent. These kinds of euthanasia requests remain exceptional, the euthanasia commission said. "In all these cases, the legal conditions were met: a considered and repeated request formulated by a willing patient, a medically hopeless condition, and unbearable persistent and unrelieved suffering caused by a serious and incurable disease."

The majority of patients were suffering both physically and psychologically - not to be confused with a psychiatric condition. 25.4 per cent only suffered physical and in 2.2 per cent, only psychological suffering was reported.

Last year, 2.5 per cent of deaths in Belgium involved euthanasia, figures from the Belgian statistics office Statbel showed last month.



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