A Dutch teenager who was raped and molested as a child has been legally euthanised after doctors agreed her suffering was “unbearable”.
Noa Pothoven, 17, said in a social media post a day before her death last Sunday that she “breaths but no longer lives”.
She died in bed last Sunday at her home in the eastern city of Arnhem, with the assistance of an end of life clinic.
In a final Instagram post, Noa Pothoven wrote 'Love is letting go, in this case,' and asked her followers not to try and change her mind.
Euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands under strict conditions since 2002. https://t.co/AnInoCGcqo
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Since the three attacks, the first of which happened when she was just 11, Noa had been repeatedly re-admitted to hospital to try to treat the post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anorexia that she had developed.
She was molested at children’s parties at 11 and 12, and then raped by two men when she was 14.
“I deliberated for quite a while whether or not I should share this, but decided to do it anyway. Maybe this comes as a surprise to some, given my posts about hospitalisation, but my plan has been there for a long time and is not impulsive,” Noa wrote on social media last week of her decision to end her life.
“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.”
Noa also wrote an autobiography, called Winning or Learning, about her experiences. In it she wrote that she was too ashamed to tell her parents what had happened to her.
According to Gelderlander newspaper, she approached a euthanasia clinic in December, without her parents’ knowledge.
They learned of her plans only when her mother found letters to the family in a folder in Noa’s bedroom.
She had been admitted to three youth care facilities in recent years to try to treat her anorexia and depression. She was even fed through a tube in hospital for a year.
The Netherlands allows children as young as 12 to be legally granted euthanasia, as long as a doctor concludes the patient’s suffering is unbearable with no end in sight.
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