Dutch girl, 17, who wanted to be euthanised died ‘after she stopped eating and drinking’

Dutch girl, 17, who wanted to be euthanised after trauma of childhood sex attack died ‘after she stopped eating and drinking under medical supervision’

  • Noa Pothoven, 17, wrote a book about battle with anorexia, depression and PTSD 
  • Levenseindekliniek in The Hague released statement about how her life ended
  • Medics supervised her to give up food, but did not actively help her to die 

A Dutch teenager who was traumatised by a childhood sex attack starved to death at home after medics allowed her to refuse food and drink, it emerged today.

Noa Pothoven, 17, who wrote a book about her long battle with anorexia, severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, died on Sunday.

Medics supervised Noa, from Arnhem, after agreeing she could stop eating and drinking – but did not actively euthanise her, an end-of-life clinic said today. 

The Levenseindekliniek in The Hague released a statement from her friends clarifying how Noa’s life ended after initial reports she had been ‘legally euthanised’. 

‘To stop her suffering, she stopped eating and drinking,’ they said.

Noa Pothoven, 17, died after she stopped eating and drinking under medical supervision, it emerged today

She had announced her intention to die a few days earlier in a post on her Instagram account.

The teenager had wanted to be euthanised at The Levenseindekliniek (End of Life Clinic) in The Hague, but they refused 

‘Let me get to the point. Within the next ten days I’m going to die,’ she wrote. ‘For a while now I’ve stopped eating and drinking and after many discussions… it is decided that I will be let go because my life is unbearable.’

She was sexually assaulted aged 11 and at 14 was raped by two men but was too afraid to tell her parents.

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 2017, some 6,585 people chose euthanasia to end their own lives in the Netherlands, about 4.4 per cent of the total number of more than 150,000 registered deaths in the country, according to the Regional Euthanasia Review Committee which strictly monitors all cases. 

The practice is hotly debated but illegal in the UK, but it’s legal in some US states, Canada and Belgium.

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