Mercy killing for newborn with incurable disease in Netherlands

by Medindia Content Team on  July 17, 2005 at 11:23 AM General Health News   - G J E 4
Mercy killing for newborn with incurable disease in Netherlands
Newborn babies with severe incurable disease can opt for mercy killing in Netherlands.

New born babies with incurable disease and with severe suffering may have the choice of mercy killing in Dutch. The Dutch Pediatric Society has plans of adopting national guidelines which is called as Groningen Protocol to be followed strictly when offering mercy killing. The Dutch Pediatric Society accepted that "in exceptional circumstances and under strict conditions... deliberate ending of life" of such newborns "can be an acceptable option."

The Groningen protocol was agreed by Groningen doctors, but the action should be based on clinical grounds of the patients and the actions should be informed in public. The mercy killing is accepted only after the clear diagnosis and prognosis study of the child. The newborn baby should be examined for other treatment procedures. The decision should be taken only if the child is severely suffering and there is no prospect for future treatment, both the parents should give their informed consent, the decision should be consulted by a second independent doctor. Dr. Vergagen, reported that "The society has agreed a clear and uniform approach to the decisions regarding deliberate life ending procedures in sick newborns." The "confirmation of the acceptability" of this practice was an important step for parents and doctors.

In Netherlands, 15 cases occur each year and the society urges the need for an immediate reporting of all cases of newborn euthanasia to a national committee of doctors, lawyers, and ethicists. Such euthanasia law board exists for adults, now a need as raised for euthanasia law system for newborn. Newborn babies with severe spina bifida, brain damage and sever hypoxia are the most who need mercy killing. Dr. Verhagen said that the medical doctors have already submitted proposal to the government and he remarked, "That is what the society has now done. The ball is now with the politicians."

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