93-year-old Belgian woman on hunger strike
93-year-old Amelie Van Esbeen from Merksem (Antwerp) has gone on hunger strike. The woman wants to die, but is not ill.
She would like to request euthanasia, but the old people's home where she is staying has been unwilling to proceed with her request.
The woman recently attempted suicide, but failed.
At her wits end the woman has now started a hunger strike. She believes that her quality of life is not longer sufficient to warrant her staying alive.
She has been on hunger strike for several days now.
Wim Distelmans, the head of Belgium's euthanasia commission told VRT that euthanasia can only be performed when there is a question of "unbearable suffering".
Some senior citizens favour a wider interpretation of Belgium's euthanasia law.
Distelmans says the elderly often suffer from many ills: poor sight, poor hearing, poor verbal skills and dependence on others.
"Put together this could amount to unbearable suffering. I don't believe it's wrong to request euthanasia in such situations."
Distelmans believes that the euthanasia law should be changed to enable seniors who are tired of life to be able to request euthanasia.