KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 — A Dutch girl has apparently died at home after refusing to eat or drink, without any evidence of legal euthanasia at a Netherlands clinic as widely reported.
The Guardian reported that Noa Pothoven, 17 — who suffered from severe depression and anorexia after she was molested and raped in two separate incidents at age 11 and 14 — died at her parents’ home in Arnhem on June 2. She previously made several attempts to kill herself.
It was reportedly unclear how Noa died. The Guardian said there was no evidence of either euthanasia or assisted suicide, both of which are legal in the Netherlands under strict conditions.
Noa had approached an end-of-life clinic in the Hague in 2017 to ask if she could be considered for euthanasia or assisted suicide, but it said she could not.
The clinic released a statement from Noa’s friends on Wednesday that said she “did not die of euthanasia. To stop her suffering, she stopped eating and drinking.”
Noa had stayed in hospital repeatedly, but declined further treatment earlier this year. A hospital bed was reportedly set up in her parents’ home and she refused to eat or drink last week.
Her parents and doctors reportedly decided not to force-feed the girl, as Dutch medical guidelines say that “care providers may not provide treatment, nursing or care” if a patient withholds consent.
Various media organisations in Australia, the UK and the US had reported Noa’s death as a case of “legal euthanasia” performed at a Dutch end-of-life clinic.
Noa wrote in an autobiography published last year, titled “Winning or Learning”, that she had been sexually molested at a children’s party when she was 11, and then raped by two men at age 14.
Both euthanasia and assisted suicide have been legal in the Netherlands since 2002. Euthanasia is where doctors end one’s life, while assisted suicide is where patients are handed the means to kill themselves.