Marlowe's Shade

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Over a Third of Child Deaths in Holland Hastened by Doctors

Two new reports from the Netherlands shows a staggering prevalence of physicial assisted "suicide" and euthanasia among children.

The first study was based on questionnaires that followed death certificates:

The death certificate study showed that 36% of all deaths of children between the ages of 1 and 17 years in the study period were preceded by an ELD (Table 1). Of all deaths, 12% concerned a nontreatment decision and 21%, the use of drugs to alleviate pain or other symptoms with a possible life-shortening effect. Some 2.7% of all deaths involved physician-assisted dying, of which 0.7% took place at the request of the patient (euthanasia) and 2.0% did not. The latter cases were all performed at the explicit request of the family.

The second was direct interviews with doctors:

In the interviews, 76 of the most recent cases in which an ELD had preceded the death of a child were discussed: 20 cases of physician-assisted dying where a drug was used with the explicit intention to hasten death, 12 cases of deep sedation while forgoing artificial nutrition or hydration, and 44 cases of nontreatment decisions (Table 3) (Figure). In 2 of the cases of physician-assisted dying, the decision was made at the explicit request of the child; 1 of these concerned a case of euthanasia performed by a family doctor in which the respondent was involved. Another 16 cases followed an explicit request for physician-assisted death by the parents, of which 2 respondents reported having been involved in cases where a family doctor had ended a child’s life. In 2 other cases, the decision was made without an explicit request from either the child or the parents.

The report make no further comment on the last 2 cases where basically the doctors themselves decided to end the life of a child.

Traditionally even without any penalties for adult euthanasia, death certificates in Holland under-represent the number of cases, so there is a good chance the practice is more widespread than this report would indicate, since it is still technically illegal. The Dutch are using their typical justification of "We're doing it anyway, so let's make it legal."

Based on the small sampling of this report, we know of 2 case of children who died solely at the discretion of doctors who broke their Oath to do no harm. There are likely many more and this number will only increase if this practice is legalized.

Crossposted on ProlifeBlogs
papijoe 7:39 AM