A 44-year-old Belgian man has been euthanized after experiencing “unbearable psychological suffering” due to a botched sex-change operation.
According to the Telegraph, Nathan Verhelst, born Nancy, was euthanized by Wim Distelmans, a cancer specialist who famously administered lethal injections to conjoined twins Marc and Eddy Verbessem last year when they feared they were going blind.
"I was the girl that nobody wanted," Verhelst told Belgium-based newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws just hours before his death. "While my brothers were celebrated, I got a storage room above the garage as a bedroom. ‘If only you had been a boy', my mother complained. I was tolerated, nothing more."
As the Telegraph reports, Verhelst received hormone therapy in 2009. He then underwent a mastectomy and surgery to construct a penis in 2012, however, “none of these operations worked as desired.”
"I was ready to celebrate my new birth," Verhelst told Het Laatste Nieuws. "But when I looked in the mirror, I was disgusted with myself. My new breasts did not match my expectations and my new penis had symptoms of rejection. I do not want to be ... a monster. "
Dr. Distelmans has defended his decision to euthanize Verhelst, saying that his patient was suffering immensely.
"The choice of Nathan Verhelst has nothing to do with fatigue of life," said Dr. Distelmans. "There are other factors that meant he was in a situation with incurable, unbearable suffering. Unbearable suffering for euthanasia can be both physical and psychological. This was a case that clearly met the conditions demanded by the law. Nathan underwent counseling for six months."
According to the Telegraph, the Verhelst case is set to ignite a firestorm in Belgium, which is one of three European countries where euthanasia is legal, the other two being the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
The Telegraph says that there were 1,432 cases of euthanasia in 2012 in Belgium, a 25 percent spike from 2011. The country is in the midst of deciding whether to allow euthanasia for children.