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What Happened To Noa Pothoven? New Details On The Woman Involved In The False PTSD Euthanasia Story

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What Happened To Noa Pothoven? New Details On The Woman Involved In The False Euthanasia Story

For quite some time, there has been a worldwide debate about euthanasia. Is it ethical? Do we have the right to terminate the life of another if the circumstances are dire?

While euthanasia is illegal in most of the United States, other countries provide legal euthanasia, including voluntary euthanasia where individuals have the choice to end their own life. And in the Netherlands, where the practice is legal, one young woman has chosen to end her life. But what happened to Noa Pothoven?

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Pothoven was known in her country as an author and mental health activist. She published her memoir, Winnen of Leren, when she was just 16 years old; the memoir discussed and criticized her country’s mental health care for the youth.

In 2018, she gave an interview to De Gelderlander, a Dutch newspaper, in which she expressed her desire to have euthanasia. She had been battling PTSD, a result of her struggle with anorexia, self-harm, and rape. Though Pothoven requested euthanasia, she was denied because of several attempts to commit suicide.

On Tuesday, June 2nd, media outlets reported that Pothoven had been legally euthanized in her Netherlands home, and that her life was “unbearable.” However, other reports indicated that she did not, in fact, die from euthanasia; instead, she had stopped drinking and eating for several days and her parents and doctor agreed to not force-feed her.


A post shared by @svmm_ce on Jun 11, 2019 at 7:51am PDT

There was a misunderstanding among English-speaking news outlets, who said she was legally euthanized at an “end of life” clinic. The Pope even tweeted about the debate of assisted suicide and euthanasia.

But in a statement from her parents, they revealed that she didn’t die from legal euthanization.

“Noa had chosen not to eat and drink anymore. We would like to emphasize that this was the cause of her death. She died in our presence last Sunday. We kindly ask everyone to respect our privacy so we as a family can mourn,” the family’s statement said.

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According to Paul Bolwerk, a Dutch journalist for De Gelderlander, Pothoven had been trying to end her life for a while. “During the last months she had undertaken several attempts to commit suicide,” he said. “It was very hard to accept that for everyone.” Pothoven was denied treatment for electroshock therapy due to her age and eventually, she stopped her mental health treatment.


A post shared by NRC.nl (@nrcnl) on Jun 7, 2019 at 12:40am PDT

In a now-deleted Instagram post, Pothoven told her fans and followers about her decision to end her life. “...Within a maximum of 10 days I will die. After years of fighting, the fighting has finished. I have now stopped eating and drinking for a while, and after many conversations and reviews it has been decided that I will be released because my suffering is unbearable. I have not really been alive for so long, I am surviving, and not even that. I am still breathing but I am no longer alive,” she wrote.

Her death has sparked massive debate about whether or not people have the right to end their own lives. 

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.