Mark Langedijk is a 41-year-old Dutchman who was euthanized several weeks ago. Even if the practice is legal in the Netherlands, its case may surprise. It was because he could no longer bear his addiction to alcohol that the man decided to put an end to it. We learn in the Daily Mail that Mark Langedijk chose to die on July 14, “one fine day to die” according to his brother who told this story in the Dutch magazine Linda.
Inside, Marcel Langedijk explains that the two boys and their sister Angela shared a quiet, easy and joyful childhood in the Dutch province of Overijssel, “carefree children” in his words. Until the day the family discovers that Mark has a problem with the drink. “Psychologists, psychiatrists, general practitioners and other health professionals have done their best to help,” he says, “but Mark could not tell anyone what he was feeling, “He said.
A medical record of 21 hospital stays
According to Marcel, his family, and especially his parents, have done everything humanly possible to save Mark. But eight years of trying alcoholism and 21 hospital stays were right. At each attempt at weaning, the man has fallen back into alcohol. His project of euthanasia was therefore approved by the practitioners of the body in charge of medical expertise on applications for euthanasia in the Netherlands. And the day he was euthanized, the forty-year-old seemed serene. “He made jokes, ate sandwiches and drank glasses,” says his brother.
A very permissive country for euthanasia
With Belgium, the Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia in 2002. To authorize the procedure, at least two doctors must be convinced that there is no other reasonable solution for the patient and that the suffering is “unbearable and without prospect of improvement”. Some mental illnesses can be considered “unbearable suffering”.
Children over the age of 12 can also ask for euthanasia, which generates intense debates in the country and internationally. In 2015, the Netherlands recorded 5 516 cases of euthanasia, or 3.9% of deaths in the country, compared to 3 136 cases five years earlier. Of these, more than 70% had cancer and 2.9% had psychiatric or dementia. The government is now considering opening euthanasia to elderly people who feel they have “accomplished their lives”, even if they are not sick.