Noa Pothoven, 17, from Arnhem, Netherlands, went to a 'end-of-life' clinic to get euthanized at her home.
She had documented her depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, past rape, sexual assaults, and struggles with anorexia in a book where she talked about being sexually assaulted at a friend's party at 11-years-old, and again at a different party. She was later raped by 2 men in the neighborhood at the age of 14. Pothoven felt that her life had become too hard to live and that she no longer wanted to continue.
Her parents didn't know about her issues until they discovered an envelope in her room with farewell letters to friends and family.
In her final Instagram post, she writes, 'Love is letting go, in this case,' and insisted that she had made her decision and could not be persuaded otherwise. Here's Noa's entire post translated by Google Translate:
"A sad last post. I doubted for a long time whether I would share it here, but I decided to do it anyway. Maybe it is unexpected because of my posts about the recording, but my plan had been there for a long time so it is not impulsive.
I get straight to the point: within a maximum of 10 days I will die. After years of fighting and fighting it is 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. It's finished. I have not really been alive for so long, I survive, and not even that. I am still breathing but I am no longer alive.
I am well cared for, I get strong pain relief and am with my family all day (I am in a hospital bed in the living room). I'm saying goodbye to the most important people in my life.
I can no longer call and I can barely app. If I do not approach you myself then it will no longer be possible to say goodbye, I am very weak so limit this to the most important people. I hereby also ask if you do not want to spam me with pleas or this is possible, I can no longer handle this.
It's fine this way. Do not convince me that this is not good, this is my decision and it is final. Love is letting go, in this case ... ❤
Thanks for your support always. It's fine this way. It will be posted here in a while when I die, so that will become clear.
Love from Noa"
Euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands since 2002.
In Holland, a child as young as 12-years-old can choose to end his/her life with a doctor's order, deeming that the patient's suffering is not curable. Over 6000 people ended their lives in 2017 through euthanasia in the Netherlands according to the Regional Euthanasia Review Committee.
According to Dutch law, the following conditions must be met before euthanasia is considered:
- The patient's suffering is unbearable with no chance of improvement
- The patient must be fully aware of their condition, prospects, and options
- A second, independent doctor must confirm the above conditions are met
- The death must be carried out in a medically appropriate fashion with the doctor present
- The patient is at least 12 years old, and patients under 16 require parental consent
- The request to end their life must be voluntary (without the influence of mental illness and drugs) and persist over time
- The doctor must report the cause of death to the municipal coroner
If you or someone you know is thinking about ending their life, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Available 24 hours everyday