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Dutch court convicts doctor of murder

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 22 April 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1028

A court in the Netherlands has found a gynaecologist guilty of murdering a 3 day old baby with serious multiple handicaps. But because of the doctor's careful treatment of the patient he will escape punishment. The court said that the law stands first for the absolute protection of human life and that doctors must not actively end the life of a baby who is not yet terminally ill.

The baby girl, Rianne, was born in 1993 at the Waterland Hospital in Purmerend, north of Amsterdam. She had multiple handicaps including hydrocephalus, spina bifida, brain damage, and deformed limbs.

Gynaecologist Henk Prins consulted two other gynaecologists, two paediatricians, neurosurgeons, …

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