A 17-year-old Dutch girl, who was allegedly victim to repeated sexual assault, was not legally euthanised but died at home, reported The Guardian. While it remains unclear how she passed away — there is no evidence of a case of assisted suicide — a statement released from her friends reportedly said: “Noa Pothoven did not die of euthanasia. To stop her suffering, she stopped eating and drinking.”
It was widely reported Wednesday that Noa had died after opting for legal euthanasia.
The Levenseinde or “end-of-life” clinic in The Hague refused to comment on her death for privacy reasons but released the statement by her friends to “put an end to incorrect reporting (in foreign media in particular)”, according to The Guardian.
Noa had approached the clinic in 2017 for assisted suicide but was told she could not. “They consider that I am too young to die. They think I should finish my trauma treatment and that my brain must first be fully grown. That lasts until your 21st birthday. It’s broken me because I can’t wait that long,” she had said in an interview last December.
Noa reportedly began refusing all food and fluids a week before her death, and her parents and doctors agreed not to force-feed her.
Days before her death, Noa had written an Instagram post which read: “It’s finished. I have not really been alive for so long, I survive, and not even that… I will get straight to the point: within a maximum of 10 days I will die.
“After years of battling and fighting, I am drained. I have quit eating and drinking for a while now, and after many discussions and evaluations, it was decided to let me go because my suffering is unbearable,” she added, reported Euro News.
The Netherlands legalised euthanasia, or physician-assisted suicide, in 2002. Under its law — Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act — a patient can request euthanasia if they are enduring “unbearable suffering” with no prospect of improvement. Those who are 16 and 17 years old do not need parental consent in principle, but their parents must be involved in the decision-making process.