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Euthanasia nurses in Belgium smother patient when lethal drugs fail to work

by | Sep 20, 2023

By Michael Cook

Alexina Wattiez wasn’t supposed to die like this. The 36-year-old Belgian woman was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2021. She deteriorated rapidly and was in so much pain that she asked for euthanasia.

On March 29 last year, her doctor, the two nurses who were looking after her, her partner, Christophe Stulens, and their 15-year-old daughter gathered in anticipation of a peaceful death. Stulens and the daughter were waiting outside while the doctor administered the lethal injection.

The facts are still obscure, but this much is known. Alexina’s partner and daughter heard her screaming. When they entered the room, she was dead, but it appears that the two nurses had smothered her with a pillow. The lethal dose had not been sufficient to kill her.

It appears that neither the nurses nor the doctor reported the failed euthanasia. But two days before the funeral, someone informed the public prosecutor’s office. A forensic pathologist examined the body and noticed traces of suffocation on the victim’s face.

Her family has demanded an investigation. “Could you imagine that your mother or your wife could end up suffocated by a cushion as part of her end of life? I think no one can conceive and imagine that,” says their lawyer, Maître Renaud Molders-Pierre.

Editor’s note. This appeared at BioEdge and is reposted with permission.

Categories: Euthanasia