Deaf Twins Chose Euthanasia Over Blindness, Family Says

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PUTTE, Belgium — Marc and Eddy Verbessem had spent their entire lives together – and the idea of not being able to see each other again was too much for them to bear.

The 45-year-old twin brothers, born deaf, chose to be euthanized together in a Belgium hospital last month after learning that they would soon be going blind from glaucoma, family of the twins told the UK Telegraph.

Euthanasia is legal under Belgian law, provided that the patient was suffering “unbearable pain.” According to family members, the twins felt that not being able to see each other would be unbearable, and were able to find doctors at Brussels University Hospital willing to accept that argument.

“Many will wonder why my brothers have opted for euthanasia because there are plenty of deaf and blind that have a ‘normal’ life,” said Dirk Verbessem, the twin’s older brother, to the Telegraph. “But my brothers trudged from one disease to another. They were really worn out.”

The twins had spent their entire lives together, sharing and apartment and working as cobblers, the Telegraph reports.

According to researchers, over 5,000 Belgians have chosen euthanasia since it became legal in 2002. The researchers say that in 2011 – the last year complete numbers are available – over 1,100 people, most suffering from terminal cancer, ended their lives through euthanasia.

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