Human Exceptionalism

Dutch MDs: OK to Put Baby Out of Parents’ Misery

Despite infanticide still being murder under (the rarely enforced) Netherlander criminal code, the Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) has issued an ethics opinion holding that doctors may euthanize dying babies to end the parents’ suffering. From the story (Google translation):

When parents [of a dying child] can not stand it anymore, physicians may hasten death, the KNMG decided. On this issue existed for years ambiguity. Doctors should accelerate death in a dying child [using] muscle relaxants if the death takes so long that it is better for the parents not to see severe suffering.

It’s about real life without newborns for whom further treatment by doctors is seen as meaningless.In these infants, the ventilator stopped. Most children then die quickly, but some will remain a life time and suffering. Once a doctor administering muscle relaxants, however, the baby dies within minutes. Criteria are established in the report Medical-life decisions in newborns with severe abnormalities of doctors organization KNMG, published today.

The KNMG also okays dehydrating dying and severely disabled babies to death by withholding milk. It is also worth noting that under the infanticide bureacratic check-list–the Groningen ProtocolNetherlander doctors may euthanize babies who would live with serious disabilities if the doctor thinks the life would involve too much suffering. 

This is what happens in a society that sees preventing suffering as the ultimate purpose of society. Eliminating suffering easily morphs into eliminating the sufferer. Then, what constitutes “suffering” becomes very elastic, as in this case, killing a baby because the parents are suffering.

I would like to see an official English translation of the whole opinion, because from my Google translation version, it appears that the question of withholding care and/or terminating the baby is based on what doctors decide, not the family.

More details over at Bioedge.

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