Traumatized 17-yr-old Dutch girl reportedly ‘euthanized’ due to depression, said life too unbearable

Screen capture … 17-year-old Noa Pothoven … Credit: Pluryn

EDITOR’S NOTE: Disputes have risen since publishing this story over the use of the term “euthanasia” in this case. Please see added information.

In the Netherlands, where assisted suicide is legal under certain conditions, a 17-year old girl has been euthanized following her claims that her depression and PTSD made it so she could no longer carry on and that life had lost its meaning.

Noa Pothoven was molested and raped as a young child and had as a result suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anorexia.

Pothoven announced on Instagram her decision to end her life. She said that life had become unbearable and that she could no longer carry on. She asked for people not to try to change her mind, saying, “love is letting go in this case.”


View this post on Instagram


Een verdrietige laatste post. Ik heb lang getwijfeld of ik het hier zou gaan delen, maar heb besloten het toch te gaan doen. Misschien komt het onverwachts vanwege mijn posts over de opname, maar mijn plan lag er al langer dus het is niet impulsief. Ik kom maar meteen tot de kern: binnen max. 10 dagen ga ik overlijden. Na jaren strijden en vechten is het op. Ik ben nu een tijdje gestopt met eten en drinken, en na veel gesprekken en beoordelingen is er besloten dat ik word losgelaten omdat mijn lijden ondragelijk is. Het is op. Ik leef al zo lang niet meer écht, ik overleef, en zelfs dat niet echt. Ik adem nog wel maar ik leef niet meer. Ik word goed verzorgd, ik krijg sterke pijnstilling en ben de hele dag met mijn gezin (ik lig in een ziekenhuisbed in de woonkamer). Ik ben bezig met afscheid nemen van de belangrijkste mensen in mijn leven. Ik kan niet meer bellen en ook amper meer appen. Als ik je niet zelf benader dan lukt het ook niet meer om afscheid te nemen, ik ben heel zwak dus beperk dit tot de allerbelangrijkste mensen. Ik vraag hierbij ook of je me niet wil volspammen met smeekbedes of dit tóch kan, dit kan ik niet meer aan. Het is goed zo. Ga me niet overtuigen dat dit niet goed is, dit is mijn besluit en het is definitief. Liefde is loslaten, in dit geval wel… ❤ Bedankt voor jullie steun altijd. Het is goed zo. Het wordt hier over een tijdje gepost als ik ben overleden, dus dat wordt vanzelf duidelijk. Liefs van Noa ?

A post shared by Noa Pothoven (@noamaestro) on

“I deliberated for quite a while whether or not I should share this, but decided to do it anyway,” wrote Pothoven.

“Maybe this comes as a surprise to some, given my posts about hospitalisation, but my plan has been there for a long time and is not impulsive. I will get straight to the point: within a maximum of 10 days I will die. After years of battling and fighting, I am drained. I have quit eating and drinking for a while now, and after many discussions and evaluations, it was decided to let me go because my suffering is unbearable.”

Noa said that she never felt as though she was “alive,” but rather she was just surviving. She wrote, “I breathe, but I no longer live.”

She then asked her friends and followers to “not convince me that this is not good, this is my decision and it is final. Love is letting go, in this case.”

In the Netherlands, “children as young as 12 can be granted euthanasia if they desire, but only after a doctor concludes that the patient’s suffering is unbearable with no clear end in sight,” according to The Daily Mail.

Since 2002, Dutch law has permitted euthanasia if it is performed in accordance with strict standards. In 2017, a total of 6,585 people chose euthanasia to end their own lives in the Netherlands. That represents 4.4 percent of the total of deaths in the country.

Pothoven wrote an autobiography entitled “Winning or Learning” about her battles with mental illness. The intent she said was to help other young people who struggle with similar issues.


The Daily Mail published an accompanying sidebar to their Pothoven story entitled “Where is Dying Legal in Europe and the U.S.?” It reads …

Assisted dying refers to both voluntary active euthanasia and physician-assisted death. These two types of assisted dying distinguish a difference in the degree of the doctor’s involvement.

Only three countries in Europe approve of assisted dying as a whole: Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

The first two even recognize requests from minors under strict circumstances, while Luxembourg excludes them from the legislation.

Switzerland, Germany, Finland, and Austria allow physician-assisted death under specific scenarios.

Countries such as Spain, Sweden, England, Italy, Hungary, and Norway allow passive euthanasia under strict circumstances.

Passive euthanasia is when a patient suffers from an incurable disease and decides not to apply life-prolonging treatments, such as artificial nutrition or hydration.

Physician-assisted suicide is legal in seven US states and the District of Columbia. It is an option given to individuals by law in the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. It is an option given to individuals in Montana via court decision

Sources: Euronews and CNN


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