Euthanasia tourism on the rise in Belgium

Euthanasia tourism on the rise in Belgium

By Xavier Symons — 

A rising number of “euthanasia tourists” are flocking to Belgium to end their lives, according to doctors in the country. Last year 2023 people were medically killed in Belgium, more than double the figure of five years earlier.

Of these, many appear to be foreign nationals seeking assisted dying. Doctors at clinics and hospitals in Belgium’s capital say that French patients often arrive with suitcases, thinking that their request to be helped to die will be carried out within a week.

“It’s a phenomenon that did not exist five or six years ago,” Olivier Vermylen, an emergency doctor at a Brussels hospital, told Belgium’s Sudpresse newspaper. “Nowadays I get phone calls about French people who arrive in the emergency room announcing that they want euthanasia.”

At the Brugmann University hospital, where Dr Vermylen works, seven out of 15 euthanasia cases last year involved French people. At the Jules Bordet institute, also in the Belgian capital, French people account for almost a third of euthanasia consultations – 40 out of 130 cases.

In Britain, Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor from the University of Hull is arguing for legalization of euthanasia as a solution to “death-tourism.” He told the Daily Mail that this phenomenon occurs because sick people do not have access to a law that will help them pass away peacefully at their own homes.

“There is an increasing realization that the time has come for change. It is time to consider legislating physician-assisted suicide in Britain and in other parts of the liberal world,” he said.