Noa Pothoven (December 18, 2001 – June 2, 2019) – a 17-year-old girl – has recently been allowed to be Euthanised in The Netherlands. Euthanasia or assisted suicide is the act of deliberately ending a person’s life to relieve suffering. It could be considered euthanasia if a doctor deliberately gave a patient with a terminal illness drugs they do not otherwise need for their comfort, such as an overdose of sedatives or muscle relaxant, with the sole aim of ending their life. Noa had been raped repeatedly at a very early age, having to experience, and endure the trauma from the time when she was 11. She was raped yet again next year!
In her autobiography ‘Winning or Learning’ (or ‘Winnen of Leren’), the Dutch girl wrote that two persons had raped her when she was 14. Since then, she had been suffering from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and Anorexia! As it became increasingly difficult for her to tolerate the pain, Noa decided to end her life!
It is not that the teenager made no attempts to lead a normal life. She got admitted to a hospital thrice in the past, and was forced to take food and water with the help of a tube for almost a year. Ahead of her death, she wrote on Facebook: “After years of struggling and fighting, it’s over… my suffering is unbearable. I survive, and not even that. I breathe, but no longer live.” With the permission of her guardians, she had applied for Euthanasia, and the Dutch Government had accepted her appeal, thus, denying the responsibility to heal Noa’s pathetic mental condition! The girl breathed her last in a hospital bed in the living room of her residence at Arnhem on June 2, 2019…
Euthanasia is regulated by the ‘Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act’ in the Netherlands. The Dutch Government had passed the Act in 2001 and the law came into effect in 2002. As per the Act, Euthanasia is not punishable, if the attending physician acts in accordance with criteria of due care. These criteria concern the patient’s request, the patient’s suffering (unbearable & hopeless), the pieces of information provided to the patient, the absence of reasonable alternatives… finally consultation of another physician and the applied method of ending life! Moreover, the patient should be at least 12 years old, with patients between 12 and 16 years of age requiring the consent of their parents. It is to be noted that 6,585 people had appealed for Euthanasia in the North-Western European country in the year 2017!
Euthanasia or assisted suicide is illegal in many countries. However, some countries, like the Netherlands, believe that if the men enjoy the right to live, then they should also enjoy the right to die! The question is that when a person appeals for Euthanasia, s/he is (sure to be) mentally unstable… hence, the State has a duty to examine the person’s mental state first, before allowing her/him to end life.
Noa’s death has triggered a controversy worldwide, because the State has made no attempt to help a teenage rape-victim lead a normal life. The girl might have applied for Euthanasia, but it is strongly being felt that the State had a duty to assure her that she would receive adequate support from the concerned authorities to return to the mainstream. It is a ‘crime’ to allow petty criminals to control a ‘valuable life’. Noa went through a traumatic experience because of some men who were equipped in common with an ugly mindset, as well as an evil intention! Unfortunately, the State did not help her overcome the trauma! By allowing her to die, the State cannot deny its responsibility…
It is only wished that Noa’s death helps the society to escape from her elevate itself from the scourge!
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