Marc and Eddy Verbessem, identical twin Belgian brothers, were born deaf. The pair, aged 45, discovered the were going blind and decided they did not want to live if they could not communicate with each other. Their euthanasia story just came to light on Jan 15.
The twins earned their living as cobblers and feared that blindness combined with deafness would make them dependent. David Dufour, the doctor at Brussels University Hospital who agreed to kill the men by lethal injection last month, told RTL television, “They did not want to be in an institution," adding the pair seemed "very happy" to die.
A local hospital reportedly denied euthanasia to the Verbessem brothers with one doctor quoted as saying, "I do not think this was what the legislation meant by 'unbearable suffering'." theweek.co.uk
However, the Verbessem brothers found a doctor who would kill them instead of learning new ways to communicate, to contribute to society and to enjoy the world. The otherwise healthy brothers committed suicide by euthanasia at 45.
Contrast this unbelievable news with the story of Helen Keller. At 19 months old, Keller contracted an illness described by doctors as "an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain." While her doctors did not know what was wrong with her, experts today believe her illness was scarlet fever or meningitis. The disease left the child deaf and blind.
The story of Helen Keller and her 20-year-old teacher Anne Sullivan, also visually impaired, has inspired people around the world since the turn of the 20th century. Instead of a life not worth living, Keller went on to become a famous author, political activist and lecturer.
Helen Keller, deaf and blind, lived a rich, full life almost twice as long as the Verbessem twins and died at 88 after inspiring millions. Her touching story and the play it inspired ("The Miracle Worker") will live on long after the sad tale of the Verbessem brothers' euthanasia has been forgotten.
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