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Why This Couple Decided on Joint Euthanasia After 50 Years

Daniel Kim Views  

The story of a Dutch couple in their 70s who chose to end their lives through joint euthanasia has garnered significant public attention.

According to a BBC report last Saturday, Jan Faber and Els van Leeningen, aged 70 and 71, chose to end their lives together through euthanasia on June 3rd.

Jan, who was once a national youth hockey player and later became a sports coach, and Els, a retired elementary school teacher, first met in kindergarten. They later married and had a son.

The couple, passionate about boats and sailing, spent much of their married life in a motorhome or boat. After purchasing a cargo ship, they even ran a goods transportation business along inland waterways.

As they grew older, Jan and Els faced increasing health challenges. Jan underwent surgery for severe back pain in 2003, but his condition failed to improve, rendering him unable to work.

Els retired from teaching in 2018 and was diagnosed with dementia in November 2022. Aware that her condition would only worsen, she discussed the possibility of joint euthanasia with her family.

“If you take a lot of medicine, you live like a zombie,” said Jan. “So, with the pain I have and Els’ illness, I think we have to stop this.”

Their son tried to convince them otherwise, but ultimately, they concluded that there was no viable solution.

The day before their euthanasia, Jan and Els enjoyed moments with their son and grandchildren, strolling along the beach and sharing their last dinner.

Their son reflected, “I remember we were having dinner in the evening, and I got tears in my eyes just watching us all having that final dinner together.”

On the day of the euthanasia, the couple’s family and friends gathered at a local hospice, reminiscing and singing songs for two hours before the doctor arrived.

Once the doctors arrived, proceeding moved quickly, and under the doctor’s supervision, the couple left this world within minutes.

In the Netherlands, euthanasia and assisted suicide are legally permissible. This is allowed when an individual makes a voluntary request, and the doctor evaluates that they are experiencing unbearable physical or psychological suffering with no prospect of improvement. Two doctors must confirm the evaluation.

In 2023, 9,068 people died from euthanasia, and 33 cases of joint euthanasia were reported, involving a total of 66 people.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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