Deaf twins euthanized: Marc and Eddy Verbessem make controversial choice
Deaf twin brothers were euthanized recently after they learned they were going blind and were devastated they
would not be able to communicate with one another. This story has shocked people around the world, and on
Jan. 15 the Huffington Post shared the details about Marc and Eddy Verbessem's controversial decision.
In Belgium where the Verbessem brothers lived, patients who declare assisted suicide is his or her wish may be
euthanized. Many disagree with the details in this situation, where the deaf twin brothers were euthanized
without being terminally ill, but their brother Dirk Verbassem shares he supports their decision. The brothers
were born deaf and were slowly going blind and had numerous other physical challenges seriously affecting
their quality of life. They lived and worked together, and the doctor who treated them said their physical
conditions were “strongly deteriorating.” It is said that when their request for euthanasia was accepted, “a
weight fell off their shoulders.”
This story has sparked heated debate and discussion online, as there are many who disagree with the decision of
Marc and Eddy Verbessem. However, there are further details about the condition of the Verbessem twins that
has been overlooked by many media outlets. A translation of information from their doctor, Dr. David Dufour,
to De Standard provides additional insight.
Dr. Dufour notes that the twins not only were deaf and going blind, but one had respiratory problems that
meant he could only sleep upright. The other had spinal cord damage and could barely walk. Doctors were
unable to improve their condition, and many medications could not be used because of their fragile eyesight. It
had come to the point where they barely ate, and they had been begging for months to be allowed to die.
The doctor shares that the twins were so determined to pursue this, that the doctors felt compelled to grant the
request for the deaf twins to be euthanized. The twins met with a psychiatrist and two other doctors before the
request was approved. While the first hospital was said to refuse their request, Dr. Dufour notes that this was
specifically due to one specialist who morally objected euthanasia and preferred it not happen in his
The report of the deaf twin brothers choosing to be euthanized has certainly sparked a lot of conversation,
much of it quite harsh toward the decision of the Verbassem brothers. In the end it is said they were calm and
confident in their decision, and their family supported their choice.
Carey, Stacy, Rochester Top News Examiner, Jan 15th 2013.