The Malta Independent 19 September 2020, Saturday

Updated: Dutch girl, 17, let herself die of thirst, hunger because she felt her life was unbearable

Wednesday, 5 June 2019, 10:43 Last update: about 2 years ago

A 17-year-old girl who was raped as a young child and felt she could no longer go on living has been legally euthanised at home with the help of an 'end-of-life clinic', the Daily Mail reports.

But other media are reporting that legal euthanasia was refused to her and she let herself die of thirst and hunger with the consent of her family.

Noa Pothoven died in a hospital bed in her living room.


The Dutch teenager from Arnhem felt that life had become unbearable and she could no longer carry on after she was attacked and sexually assaulted on three separate occasions, beginning when she was just 11 years old. 

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. 

In a social media post one day before her death last Sunday, Noa made her decision public.

She wrote: '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.

'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 added that she never felt as though she was 'alive', rather surviving, writing: 'I breathe, but I no longer live.'

Finally she asked her friends and followers on Instagram to 'not convince me that this is not good, this is my decision and it is final. 'Love is letting go, in this case,' she added.      

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