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Belgium: 2023 report on euthanasia

The Belgian Federal Commission for the Control and Evaluation of Euthanasia released its annual report on euthanasia last week. Between January 1st 2022 and 31st December 2023 there were 3,423 reported cases of euthanasia, a 15% increase from 2022. These cases represent 3.1% of all deaths (compared with 2,5% in 2022). 70,7 % of patients were aged over 70 and 42.1 % were over 80. Euthanasia in patients under the age of 40 remained very rare (1.1 %).

In the vast majority of cases (79.2 %), the doctor felt that the patient’s death was foreseeable in the short term. Patients whose death was clearly not expected in the short term were mainly suffering from polypathologies.

The conditions that prompted euthanasia cases were tumours (cancers) (55.5 %), a combination of several chronic refractory conditions (polypathologies) (23.2 %), diseases of the nervous system such as ALS or Charcot’s disease (9.6 %), diseases of the circulatory system such as stroke (3,2 %), diseases of the respiratory system such as pulmonary fibrosis (3 %), psychiatric conditions such as personality disorders (1,4 %), cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (1.2 %), diseases of the osteoarticular system such as arthropathies or myopathies (0.7%) and traumatic lesions such as a complication following surgery (0,6%).

Read the FCCEE Press Release here: FCCEE-PressRelease (20240227)-Figures2023 (1).pdf