24 votes

Seventeen-year-old girl who sought euthanasia dies in Netherlands

27 comments

  1. [4]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [3]
      dubteedub
      Link Parent
      I appreciate the additional context provided by that user, but the article I posted does talk about how she was refusing to eat or drink. It even quotes her directly in the third paragraph: It...

      I appreciate the additional context provided by that user, but the article I posted does talk about how she was refusing to eat or drink. It even quotes her directly in the third paragraph:

      “After years of battling and fighting, I am drained. I have quit eating and drinking for a while now, and after many discussions and evaluations, it was decided to let me go because my suffering is unbearable.”

      It also talks about how she was previously turned away from the center:

      Pothoven had previously sought services at the End of Life Clinic in The Hague, but was reportedly turned away due to her age.

      I dont really underatand what the hang up is as far as that person claiming she was not euthanized as by all other accounts this did meet the Dutch law.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        alyaza
        Link Parent
        just as an update, the daily beast has now acknowledged that this does not meet the criteria for euthanasia and has changed their piece accordingly.

        I dont really underatand what the hang up is as far as that person claiming she was not euthanized as by all other accounts this did meet the Dutch law.

        just as an update, the daily beast has now acknowledged that this does not meet the criteria for euthanasia and has changed their piece accordingly.

        Editor’s note: This article has been updated to remove the suggestion that Noa Pothoven died as a result of euthanasia efforts. “Noa Pothoven did not die of euthanasia. To stop her suffering, she has stopped eating and drinking,” her friends said in a statement provided to The Daily Beast by the End of Life Clinic.

        11 votes
        1. dubteedub
          Link Parent
          Thanks, when I was stil reading theough articles on this topic this morning they were all still caling this euthanasia.

          Thanks, when I was stil reading theough articles on this topic this morning they were all still caling this euthanasia.

          3 votes
  2. dubteedub
    Link
    I think this news raises some really interesting points. I have not read her book or know anything about the specifics of her abuse, but seventeen years old seems so young to me to be provided...

    I think this news raises some really interesting points. I have not read her book or know anything about the specifics of her abuse, but seventeen years old seems so young to me to be provided assisted suicide. I am sure that she knew her own mental health better than anyone else and the decision was approved by a doctor, but it just feels wrong to me. All I can imagine is what other options of treatments or therapy could have helped her. It is a shame that she felt that this was her only choice.

    15 votes
  3. [2]
    Deimos
    Link
    Here's an article about this story and all the mis-reporting that's happened around it: The euthanasia that wasn’t
    • Exemplary

    Here's an article about this story and all the mis-reporting that's happened around it: The euthanasia that wasn’t

    6 votes
    1. cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      That might even be worthy of its own submission at this point. p.s. Meta/offtopic, but I think this situation in particular also highlight why title editing on Tildes is such a hugely positive...

      That might even be worthy of its own submission at this point.

      p.s. Meta/offtopic, but I think this situation in particular also highlight why title editing on Tildes is such a hugely positive feature. Having misinformation linger in a topic title after it has been revealed to be so makes no sense, and IMO is even actively harmful since a significant percentage of people only ever read headlines and not the article itself or the comment section.

      4 votes
  4. [6]
    NaraVara
    Link
    This is really heart-rending. It makes me think of an (ironic, in hindsight) Robin Williams quote about suicide being a permanent solution to a temporary problem. It's obvious that the trauma she...

    This is really heart-rending. It makes me think of an (ironic, in hindsight) Robin Williams quote about suicide being a permanent solution to a temporary problem. It's obvious that the trauma she went through would have followed her throughout her life, but going from 14 years old to 17 is only 3 years. Surely, time and therapy might have healed the wound some?

    On the other hand, once someone resolves to commit suicide they're going to do it whether it is legal or not. I suppose having a legal pipeline, with therapists to make sure you really want to go through with it and medical professionals to make sure you don't suffer needlessly in the process would be a preferable way to go about it.

    At least this way the family can know and prepare and say their goodbyes when they send her off. The opportunity to have a dialogue about it instead of spending the rest of their lives wondering if they could have done something differently could save the family and friends so much pain. But the tragedy of knowing this girl felt so backed into the corner is hard to think about.

    8 votes
    1. [4]
      DanBC
      Link Parent
      This isn't supported by what we know about suicide. One of the key measures to prevent death by suicide is to reduce access to means and methods. When the UK changed from coal gas to natural gas...

      once someone resolves to commit suicide they're going to do it whether it is legal or not.

      This isn't supported by what we know about suicide. One of the key measures to prevent death by suicide is to reduce access to means and methods. When the UK changed from coal gas to natural gas they saw a significant drop in deaths by suicide. It took some years for method-substitution to increase the rates. This happened again when cars were fitted with catalytic convertors.

      11 votes
      1. [3]
        NaraVara
        Link Parent
        This goes by a pretty liberal interpretation of what by "resolves to commit." In this case she had already resolved to fast unto death. At that point the only option there is to either stick her...

        One of the key measures to prevent death by suicide is to reduce access to means and methods.

        This goes by a pretty liberal interpretation of what by "resolves to commit."

        In this case she had already resolved to fast unto death. At that point the only option there is to either stick her to a feeding tube, by force and against her will, or to just let her do it in a more dignified way.

        8 votes
        1. DanBC
          Link Parent
          Not really. We have interviews with survivors, some of whom had been suicidal for many years with many attempts and some of whom had made a single but significantly dangerous attempt (who were...

          This goes by a pretty liberal interpretation of what by "resolves to commit."

          Not really. We have interviews with survivors, some of whom had been suicidal for many years with many attempts and some of whom had made a single but significantly dangerous attempt (who were only saved by luck), and they tell us the same thing about means and methods.

          4 votes
        2. [2]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. NaraVara
            Link Parent
            That's not really "resolute" though, which is what I meant. This girl had been doing this repeatedly and I assume the medical professionals attending to her had a good idea of whether she was...

            Plenty of 17 somethings go through or vow extreme action and then quickly relent, either after changing their mind just as impulsively or by getting a taste of life experience, such as experiencing starvation for the first time in their lives and letting that agonizing feeling overwhelm whatever resolve they had had before.

            That's not really "resolute" though, which is what I meant. This girl had been doing this repeatedly and I assume the medical professionals attending to her had a good idea of whether she was likely to attempt it again.

            4 votes
    2. [2]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. NaraVara
        Link Parent
        I think I read that he decided to go through with it when he started having hallucinations. So for him it may have really been an issue of things only getting worse from here. I actually had an...

        I think I read that he decided to go through with it when he started having hallucinations. So for him it may have really been an issue of things only getting worse from here.

        I actually had an old acquaintance with a similar problem. He was 2 years into his residency as a physician when he began having hallucinations and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. I don't know how responsive he was to medication or what, but pretty soon after the diagnosis he decided to just end it. I think, being a doctor, he had seen some pretty bad cases and didn't want that for himself.

        3 votes
  5. [15]
    JoylessAubergine
    Link
    I honestly find it a disgusting choice by the doctors involved. I've read the additional details from Reddit and it doesn't change my mind. A 17 year old should not get help to commit suicide....

    I honestly find it a disgusting choice by the doctors involved. I've read the additional details from Reddit and it doesn't change my mind. A 17 year old should not get help to commit suicide. They should section her and force feed her until they have exhausted all other treatment options. The Netherlands is a wealthy first world country with a strong medical and support system, they absolutely had the means to spend years treating her.

    It has only been 3 years since she was raped, it took longer for my finger to sit straight after i busted a tendon for fucks sake.

    1 vote
    1. [6]
      deing
      Link Parent
      If you take issue with her having been "only" 17, what do you think is a good age to have a right to bodily autonomy?

      If you take issue with her having been "only" 17, what do you think is a good age to have a right to bodily autonomy?

      11 votes
      1. JoylessAubergine
        Link Parent
        When the victim of trauma is a child i don't think you can put an age on it. I think it would have to be a combination of distance of the trauma (certainly more than 3 years!), number and variety...

        When the victim of trauma is a child i don't think you can put an age on it. I think it would have to be a combination of distance of the trauma (certainly more than 3 years!), number and variety of treatments tried and even life experiences.

        2 votes
      2. [4]
        dubteedub
        Link Parent
        The doctors that origonally turned her away suggested she wait until her brain had fully developed, so another year or two at least. I don't think that is that unreasonable goven that teenagers...

        The doctors that origonally turned her away suggested she wait until her brain had fully developed, so another year or two at least.

        I don't think that is that unreasonable goven that teenagers don't realy have a sense of the finality that an action like this could cause.

        That being said, she definetely forced everyones hand by repeatedly refusing to eat or drink. At that point there is really nothing anyone can do.

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          deing
          Link Parent
          Are you suggesting that teenagers in general are not aware that suicide involves permanent cessation of existence? Because I can't really read that sentence in any other way. Also, as an aside not...

          Are you suggesting that teenagers in general are not aware that suicide involves permanent cessation of existence? Because I can't really read that sentence in any other way.

          Also, as an aside not necessarily pointed at you: I do not believe it is in any way justifiable to excuse actively perpetuating the suffering of a very real and decidedly non-consenting person with the unknowable potential that that person could change and not feel as bad about their trauma somewhere in the vaguely distant future.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            dubteedub
            Link Parent
            I am not sure if I can communicate this right, but my understanding is that as their brains are not fully developed, teenagers often are not aware of the long-term impact of their decisions. I...

            Are you suggesting that teenagers in general are not aware that suicide involves permanent cessation of existence?

            I am not sure if I can communicate this right, but my understanding is that as their brains are not fully developed, teenagers often are not aware of the long-term impact of their decisions. I think that suicide could certainly fall under that.

            Pictures of the brain in action show that adolescents' brains work differently than adults when they make decisions or solve problems. Their actions are guided more by the emotional and reactive amygdala and less by the thoughtful, logical frontal cortex. Research has also shown that exposure to drugs and alcohol during the teen years can change or delay these developments.

            Based on the stage of their brain development, adolescents are more likely to:

            • act on impulse
            • misread or misinterpret social cues and emotions
            • get into accidents of all kinds
            • get involved in fights
            • engage in dangerous or risky behavior

            Adolescents are less likely to:

            • think before they act
            • pause to consider the consequences of their actions
            • change their dangerous or inappropriate behaviors

            https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/The-Teen-Brain-Behavior-Problem-Solving-and-Decision-Making-095.aspx

            2 votes
            1. CALICO
              Link Parent
              The human neocortex isn't done developing until our mid-twenties. Which, if we want to go deep, throws a whole bunch of our laws and social norms into question at absolute best: driving, voting,...

              The human neocortex isn't done developing until our mid-twenties. Which, if we want to go deep, throws a whole bunch of our laws and social norms into question at absolute best: driving, voting, military service, punishment under the law, body autonomy, drinking, smoking, consent to sex, etc.

              5 votes
    2. [7]
      cyanide
      Link Parent
      ....what? They did that. Repeatedly.

      It has only been 3 years since she was raped, it took longer for my finger to sit straight after i busted a tendon for fucks sake.

      ....what?

      They should section her and force feed her until they have exhausted all other treatment options.

      They did that. Repeatedly.

      10 votes
      1. [6]
        JoylessAubergine
        Link Parent
        Healing takes time. If an injury as simple as a tendon rupture can take 3 years to fully fix, to go to something so final for something as horrible and traumatic as rape in the same time frame is...

        ....what?

        They did that. Repeatedly.

        Healing takes time. If an injury as simple as a tendon rupture can take 3 years to fully fix, to go to something so final for something as horrible and traumatic as rape in the same time frame is ludicrous.

        1 vote
        1. [5]
          alyaza
          Link Parent
          you realize that's basically an argument for her case though, right? that she's not likely to ever fully get over the traumas she's been put through, which is what motivated her to seek assisted...

          Healing takes time. If an injury as simple as a tendon rupture can take 3 years to fully fix, to go to something so final for something as horrible and traumatic as rape in the same time frame is ludicrous.

          you realize that's basically an argument for her case though, right? that she's not likely to ever fully get over the traumas she's been put through, which is what motivated her to seek assisted death in the first place because she didn't want to live with the feeling of intense pain that it all gave her.

          7 votes
          1. [4]
            JoylessAubergine
            Link Parent
            No it's not an argument for her case at all. She had no idea whether she would get over it enough to live a fulfilling life because she never gave it a shot. She was enabled by system that failed...

            No it's not an argument for her case at all. She had no idea whether she would get over it enough to live a fulfilling life because she never gave it a shot. She was enabled by system that failed her. 3 years is nothing in mental health. Even if it took 20 years to improve her mental state to a point of independence she would still have 40 years of life to live.

            1 vote
            1. [3]
              alyaza
              Link Parent
              has it occurred to you that maybe someone would like to not live in the pain of their repeated sexual trauma from being sexually assaulted and then raped, and their emotional trauma from being...

              Even if it took 20 years to improve her mental state to a point of independence she would still have 40 years of life to live.

              has it occurred to you that maybe someone would like to not live in the pain of their repeated sexual trauma from being sexually assaulted and then raped, and their emotional trauma from being unhelpfully committed repeatedly as a consequence of the mental burden that sexual trauma took on her just for the prospect of maybe getting better in however many years, but more likely not ever fully getting over those traumas? it's weirdly gross to act like you know her mental health better than she did, to act like you know what she should have done better than she did, or to act like she didn't go through enough steps to try and solve her trauma for your subjective liking to justify her decision to seek end-of-life treatment.

              11 votes
              1. [2]
                JoylessAubergine
                Link Parent
                All my posts have been about the doctors/system failing a suicidal 17 year old rape victim.

                All my posts have been about the doctors/system failing a suicidal 17 year old rape victim.

                1. alyaza
                  Link Parent
                  yes, i've noticed. what i'm taking issue with here is your framing of how they supposedly failed her. your idea that they failed her is based on the notion that they failed her because they didn't...

                  yes, i've noticed. what i'm taking issue with here is your framing of how they supposedly failed her. your idea that they failed her is based on the notion that they failed her because they didn't treat her in the way you feel they should have treated her, which would realistically have involved making her live and effectively getting over her trauma even though she very clearly expressed that she neither felt that she was ever going to able to get over that trauma nor felt like she wanted to live anymore.

                  so, in effect, what you're basically saying (whether you intend to or not) in taking that position is that her idea of what she wants and her understanding of her mental health do not matter and should be overruled by doctors because hypothetically, she's young enough that she could get better at some indeterminate point in the future--even if that means she has to spend most of the rest of her life suffering the same agony that made her repeatedly attempt suicide and resulted in her committal and drove her to seek assisted dying to begin with. that's... a troubling position, to say the least, for reasons people have already brought up (bodily autonomy, it essentially forcing someone to live in pain against their clearly expressed will) and in a medical context it might conflict with the hippocratic oath considering the circumstances.

                  personally i take the line that if the system failed her in any way, it was by forcing her to die in the way she did, not by letting her die to begin with. she's not particularly young, and her feelings are not irrational. she made a decision that, all other options considered, she was not willing to suffer the feelings that had already driven her to experience more trauma for potentially the rest of her life. i imagine that if you were in the position she had been in with the luxury of potentially being able to choose to die like she could, you would have at least considered that option as well.

                  13 votes
    3. spit-evil-olive-tips
      Link Parent
      I agree, but it appears that she didn't, as mentioned in the reddit comment linked above. This article from the Washington Post has also been corrected: It sounds like she requested euthanasia,...

      A 17 year old should not get help to commit suicide

      I agree, but it appears that she didn't, as mentioned in the reddit comment linked above. This article from the Washington Post has also been corrected:

      An earlier version of this story reported that Noa Pothoven’s death came via euthanasia. It was unclear to what degree doctors assisted in her death, although she earlier requested their help.

      It sounds like she requested euthanasia, was turned down, and then ended her life via other means.

      They should section her and force feed her

      When she was raped, her autonomy over her own body was taken away from her. If they force-fed her, they'd be repeating a form of that same trauma, over and over again, every single day. It's entirely possible such treatment would violate the Hippocratic "do no harm" oath and make her condition worse, not better.

      Every suicide is tragic but I can't bring myself to Monday morning quarterback this one.

      9 votes