A 17-year-old girl who felt she could no longer go on living has been allowed to die at home with the help of an ‘end-of-life clinic’. She had been a victim of rape as a young girl.
Noa Pothoven died in a hospital bed in her living room after doctors allowed her to starve and dehydrate to death.
In Holland, children as young as 12 can be granted euthanasia if they desire, but only after a doctor concludes that the patient’s suffering is unbearable with no clear end in sight.
In a social media post one day before her death last Sunday, Noa made her decision public: ‘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.’
According to the Dutch newspaper De Gelderlander, Noa’s parents had no idea she was unwell until her mother discovered a plastic envelope in her room filled with farewell letters to her parents, friends and acquaintances.
‘I was in shock,’ Lisette told De Gelderlander. ‘We didn’t get it. Noa is sweet, beautiful, smart, social and always cheerful. How is it possible that she wants to die? We have never received a real answer. We just heard that her life was no longer meaningful.’
Lisette told De Gelderlander last year that Noa and was ‘at odds’ with her parents. ‘We, her parents, want her to choose the path of life. Noa really doesn’t want to die at all. She only longs for peace,’ Lisette said. But when she turned 17, Noa no longer needed her parents consent in order to apply for euthanasia.