Belgian Nursing Home Fined €6,000 for Refusing to Allow Euthanasia on Premises

Country: Belgium

Date of incident: June 30, 2016

Judges in Belgium fined a Catholic nursing home after it prevented doctors from giving a lethal injection to a 74-year-old lung cancer sufferer on its premises.

After the nursing home denied the request, the patient was instead taken by ambulance home to die “in peaceful surroundings”. Her family sued the home for causing their mother “unnecessary mental and physical suffering”. A civil court in Louvain unanimously ruled that "the nursing home had no right to refuse euthanasia on the basis of conscientious objection" and fined the home €3,000, along with compensation of €1,000 to each of the patient’s three adult children. This case set a new precedent in Belgium by clarifying the law to restrict the right to refuse euthanasia requests on the basis of conscientious objection to individual medical professionals – and not hospitals or care homes. According to Catholic Herald:
"Euthanasia pioneer Dr Wim Distelmans, a man who has been dubbed Belgium’s “Dr Death”, also welcomed the judgement." He said: "This is an important case because the judge sees the nursing home as an extension of a private home. When other institutions now want to reject euthanasia, they will think twice before they prohibit access to a doctor. Such denials are still common, both in nursing homes and in hospitals. To turn the tide, this court decision is very important." The judgment could result in closures of Catholic-run nursing and care homes across Belgium because euthanasia is prohibited by the Church.

Read our case here for background. Sources: Catholic Herald and Life Site News