February 21, 2024

Belgium euthanasia deaths rise by nearly 10%

The number of cases of euthanasia in Belgium rose by 9.85% over the previous year in 2022, according to figures published on February 17 by the Federal Commission for the Control and Evaluation of Euthanasia (CFCEE). The number of people who died was 2,966 – 2.5% of deaths in Belgium.

However, as the European Institute of Bioethics pointed out , there are probably hundreds more, as a substantial proportion of doctors do not report their participation in euthanasia.  

About 70% of the requests are written in Dutch (or Flemish). Last year, 61 foreign patients died, 53 of them from France.

In about 60% of cases, cancer was cited as the reason for a request. Polypathologies come next at 19.6%. In nearly half of these cases, death was not expected in the short term. The term polypathology indicates a combination of different ailments like loss of sight or hearing, arthritis and incontinence. In 26 cases the reason was psychiatric illness; in 42 cases, cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

About as many men (50.4%) as women (49.6%) were euthanized in 2022. Most were over 70, but 1.2% were under 40. No minors were euthanised in 2022. The proportion of people in nursing homes is rising steadily; in 2022 it was 16.4%.