The mother of Tine Neys, the woman at the centre of the trial last week of three doctorscharged with failing to follow the 2002 euthanasia law, is being kept in an artificial coma in hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest, the family’s lawyer said.
“The mother has been suffering for some time from cardio-vascular problems, and for that reason had to undergo an urgent medical intervention in the first week of the trial,” said lawyer Joris Van Cauter. “That was a success, and after that she could begin to recover at home.
Giving evidence at the trial where the euthanasia of her daughter was central was not an option, her husband was also regularly absent to take care of her.
In recent days she has been hospitalised again, and on Friday, just after the end of the trial, she suffered a cardiac arrest. We can only hope she comes through.”
Van Cauter refused to speculate on whether the stress of a trial surrounding the death of her daughter might have triggered the cardiac problems. “I am not a heart specialist,” he said. But he pointed out that the family had suffered from more than the simple facts of the case.
“I can only stress how over the last few weeks, a whole pile of dirt has been tipped over this family,” he said. “This was supposed to be a trial whose central question was whether the euthanasia was carried out by the book, but it turned into a trial where some people found it necessary to turn the family’s dirty washing into the crux of the case. It is beyond doubt that something like that is extremely hard for the whole family.”
Van Cauter declined to comment on whether the family will appeal to the Cassation Court. “My first reflex would be not to go to Cassation, because I think the family has suffered enough from court cases. I’m sure sure if the family could stand it emotionally, although legally I think the judgement is not correct. But it will be for the family to decide.”
The Cassation Court is available only for a judgement on the procedure of the trial, and does not deal with the facts of the case. The parties have 15 days to decide whether to appeal.