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Belgian Neurologist Says Young Woman Euthanized Prematurely After Mental Struggles From ISIS Attack

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A young Belgian woman who survived the Islamic State terror attack in the Brussels airport in 2016 chose to end her own life after suffering from severe depression and PTSD for years following the incident. 

Now Belgian prosecutors are investigating the case after receiving complaints from a local neurologist who told them the decision to euthanize Shanti De Corte, 23, "was made prematurely."

De Corte was a 17-year-old high school student on March 22, 2016.  She was traveling with a group of her classmates to Italy. The teenagers were walking through the departure lounge of the Belgian airport in Zaventem when Islamic State terrorists detonated a bomb, according to The Daily Mail

As CBN News reported at the time, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack that killed at least 31 people and injured 187, including three Americans. ISIS's news agency reported that Islamic State terrorists opened fire in the airport and detonated several suicide belts. It said another suicide bomber struck the metro system.

The bombs went off at the height of rush hour.

De Corte had escaped the explosion without any physical wounds. However, the mental toll on the teenager left her with constant panic attacks and periods of dark depression, The Mail reported. Even though she was under the care of a psychiatric hospital in her hometown of Antwerp and was taking anti-depressants, the young woman tried to kill herself on two separate occasions in 2018 and 2020. 

De Corte wrote about her struggles dealing with her troubled mental health on social media, according to The Mail

After the second attempt to kill herself was unsuccessful, she contacted an organization that supports euthanasia, promoting "death in dignity," according to the outlet. 

RTBF, the public broadcaster to the French community in Belgium, reports De Corte asked them to perform euthanasia for "unbearable psychiatric suffering."

Euthanasia is defined as the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy. It is currently illegal in the U.S. in all 50 states. However, assisted suicide is legal in Washington, D.C., and in the states of  California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, New Mexico, Maine, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Washington.

De Corte died last May after two psychiatrists signed off on her request to end her life, according to RTBF.

The woman's mother, Marielle, spoke about her daughter's mental anguish with VRT, the national public broadcaster for the Flemish community in Belgium. "That day really cracked her, she never felt safe after that," she said. 

"She didn't want to go anywhere where other people were, out of fear," Marielle said. "She also had frequent panic attacks and she never got rid of it." 

According to RTBF, the Federal Commission for the Control and Evaluation of Euthanasia in Belgium had no concerns over the case, but neurologist Paul Deltenre with the UZC Brugman academic clinical hospital in Brussels argued that there were still different modalities of care and treatment available to De Corte that were not tried. 

According to ADF International, a faith-based legal advocacy organization, over 27,000 people have died from euthanasia in Belgium since it was legalized a little more than 20 years ago on May 28, 2002. 

The country has been cited as an example of a "slippery slope" that concerned parties warn is inevitable with such legislation. Belgian cases have also included instances where patients have been euthanized for psychiatric conditions, including depression.

"A fair and just society cares for its most vulnerable. International law protects everyone's inherent right to life. It requires countries to protect the inherent dignity and lives of all people, rather than to help end those lives," said Jean-Paul Van De Walle, legal counsel for ADF International in Brussels, Belgium.

'Don't Cut God Short. He Has a Plan to Work in Your Life'

As CBN News reported last week, first mate Johnny Savage and Captain Eric Bingham shared their miraculous story of how the Holy Spirit kept him and his boatmate alive while lost at sea–surviving the open ocean, hypothermia, nearly drowning, and the chance of being eaten alive by sharks.

Savage said God called him to share his story in a new book titled Lost in the Stream: The Miraculous Story of Two Fishermen Lost at Sea.

He told CBN News's PrayerLink that he wants the book to glorify God and to help people who have struggled with suicidal thoughts. 

"I think we're in a time where people need hope," Savage said. "People need to know that no matter how bad things look in front of you, you can have hope that it'll work because it's all part of His plan." 

So far, four people have decided to not commit suicide because of reading his book. 

Savage adds, "If I could take and give every person a drop, just a mustard seed of that faith that I had in that moment, it would carry them through whatever trial comes in their life."

"Don't cut God short. He has a plan to work in your life," he added. "Just as it says in James 1, you need to go through that trial and see what God is going to work and do in you."

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of