Young Woman Who Was The Victim Of Terrorism Chooses To Be Euthanized

Brussels Belguim

Survivor of a deadly Islamic State attack on a Brussels airport, 23-year-old Belgian woman opts to die by euthanasia after suffering mental health problems for years triggered by the attack.

“After that day, she never felt safe again,” Shanti De Corte’s mother, Marielle, told Belgian news station VRT about her daughter’s struggles since the 2016 ISIS attack on Brussels Airport in Zaventem.

17-year-old De Corte was traveling with classmates when terrorists affiliated with ISIS detonated a bomb at the airport in March 2016. As she walked through the departures lounge, the explosion rocked the airport, killing 33 and injuring 340.

Despite surviving the blast without any physical injuries, De Corte’s mental trauma haunted her for the rest of her life.

According to De Corte’s mother, “she didn’t want to go anywhere where other people were, out of fear” that she had. Additionally, she suffered from frequent panic attacks.

In Belgium, euthanasia is legal at the national level. In 2002, it became the second country to allow euthanasia, following the Netherlands. A number of countries have passed laws allowing euthanasia since then, including Luxembourg, Colombia, Canada, Spain, and New Zealand.

In the United States, euthanasia is illegal, but patients can refuse medical treatment and withdraw life support with their consent. Under certain circumstances, physician-assisted suicide is permitted in some U.S. states.

Euthanasia is more permissive in Belgium and the Netherlands than in other countries where it is legal, allowing patients who suffer from mental illness to choose the procedure.

After struggling with anxiety and depression for years, two psychiatrists approved the De Corte euthanasia earlier this year. She posts frequently to social media about her struggles with mental health, including attempts at suicide in 2018 and 2020.

In one post, she wrote, “I take 11 antidepressants a day. I couldn’t live without it.” “I feel like a ghost that can’t feel anything anymore. Maybe there are other solutions than pills.”

Despite this, not everyone agreed that euthanasia was the only option for De Corte, with prosecutors investigating the case after a neurologist at the UZC Brugman academic clinical hospital in Brussels raised concerns about the decision and argued it was “made prematurely.”

However, De Corte was euthanized in May of this year, and she documented her final moments on social media.

“I was laughing and crying. Until the last day. I loved and was allowed to feel what true love is,” she posted. “Now I will go away in peace. Know that I miss you already.”

John Nightbridge is a veteran reporter, researcher, and economic policy major from UCLA. Passionate about world issues and potential ways to solve them is a significant focus of his work. Writing freelance and reading the news are John's passions at work. Outside of work, it's all about sky diving, surfing, and stock market modeling.