In a case of doctor-assisted suicide, two deaf Belgian twins were euthanized after the pair learned they were going blind, multiple news reports said.
Doctor-assisted suicide is legal in Belgium, with 1,000 Belgians legally euthanized in the European country last year, according to ABC News. Most of those deaths were terminal cancer patients.
The deaf Belgium twins who were euthanized were identified as Marc and Eddy Verbessem, 45. They died from lethal injection last month at Brussels University Hospital. Reports of the twins’ death surfaced Monday.
The deaf twins asked to be euthanized after they found out they were going blind and would be unable to see each other, ABC News reported.
The Verbessems were born deaf and relied on each other for daily functions and work, UPI reported.
While doctor-assisted suicide is legal in Belgium, the case of the deaf twins is unique because it marks the first euthanization for a non-lethal condition, according to ABC News.
"Physically, their conditions were strongly deteriorating," the deaf twins’ physician, David Dufour, told Belgian media outlet VTM, as translated by UPI.
Dirk Verbessem, 46, the deaf twins’ brother, explained to the Telegraph that his siblings did not want blindness to force them to go into an institution. He said they viewed being blind as being unbearable, especially coupled with the fact that the twins have been deaf since birth.
"Their great fear was that they would no longer be able to see each other. That was for my brothers unbearable," Dirk Verbessem told the British tabloid. "They lived together, did their own cooking and cleaning. You could eat off the floor. Blindness would have made them completely dependent. They did not want to be in an institution.”
The brothers’ family was with them while they underwent the lethal injections, the news wire service reported.
Dufour described the moment for Belgian television station RTL.
"They had a cup of coffee in the hall", he said. "It went well and [was] a rich conversation. Then the separation from their parents and brother was very serene and beautiful. At the last, there was a little wave of their hands and then they were gone."
Under Belgian law, doctors can euthanize “suffering” patients who are over 18 and express a wish to die, ABC News reported.
The country is considering expanding the law to include dementia patients and ill children whose parents consent to euthanization.