Last week, the board of the Belgian Brothers of Charity announced that from now on, it will allow euthanasia to take place in their psychiatric hospitals.
The Brothers of Charity is a religious order in the Catholic Church, responsible for a large proportion of places for psychiatric patients in Belgium. The Charity has approximately 5000 places. They explain the policy shift on their website: “We take unbearable and hopeless suffering and patients’ request for euthanasia seriously. On the other hand, we do want to protect lives and ensure that euthanasia is performed only if there is no more possibility to provide a reasonable perspective to treat the patient”.
The chairman of the board of Brothers of Charity stated that they did not change their ethos: “We have not made a 180 degree turn, it is not that we used to be against euthanasia and now suddenly are for it. This is consistent with our existing criteria. We are making both possible routes for our patients: both a pro-life perspective and euthanasia”.
Since the Charity has a lot of hospitals in Belgium, this statement will make it easier for people with psychiatric problems to get their request for euthanasia honoured and die with dignity.