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Belgian Euthanasia Review Committee reported on 2019

The Belgian Euthanasia Review Committee (FCEE) reported on 2019. They published a Dutch and a French press release. The figures relate to the registration documents of patients undergoing euthanasia that were examined by the Commission in the period between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2019.

In the 2019 period, 2655 cases of euthanasia were recorded. The vast majority of these cases happened in the Flemish part of Belgium. These mainly concerned patients between the ages of 60 and 89 slightly more female patients. Home was the most important place of execution.

The main categories of conditions that gave rise to a euthanasia request were either malignancies (cancers) or a combination of various serious and incurable diseases (polypathology) that could no longer be improved and caused serious disabilities to cause organ failure. Death was expected in the foreseeable future in the vast majority of patients (terminal patients).

In the group of patients whose death was not expected within the foreseeable future (non-terminal patients), the patients with polypathology are most strongly represented, while cancer patients were extremely rarely considered as non-terminal.

Requests for euthanasia based on psychological and behavioral disorders (psychiatric disorders such as mood disorders and cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s are collected in this group) remained exceptional (1.8% of all euthanasia). In all these cases it was possible to establish that the legal conditions had been met. 

In 2019, one registration document on euthanasia in judiciously competent underage patients was registered.

The Commission considered that all statements received met the essential requirements of the law, there was no need to send a file to the public prosecutor for further investigation.