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Catholic care home sued for refusing euthanasia

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The family of an elderly cancer sufferer who wanted to die by euthanasia is suing a Belgian Catholic care home for refusing to let a doctor give the woman a lethal injection on Church-run premises.

Mariette Buntjens was instead removed from the Sint-Augustinus rest home in Diest and died days later in the “peaceful surroundings” of a private residence at the hands of a doctor.

Nadine Engelen, the daughter of the woman, is now claiming that the care home caused Mrs Buntjens unnecessary “physical and mental suffering” by refusing her request to die within its walls.

She is taking the care home to a civil court in Louvain in April in a test case which could determine whether Church-run institutions have the right to refuse to be involved in acts of euthanasia.

At present, Belgian law permits doctors to conscientiously object to euthanasia but is silent on whether institutions enjoy the same right.

The care home is insisting that although the woman’s euthanasia death had been planned for six months it was delayed by just a matter of days by the refusal.

Miss Engelen claims, however, that Mrs Buntjens, who had metastatic cancer, suffered as a result.

Read more at Catholic Herald.


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