Intended for healthcare professionals


Dutch doctors adopt guidelines on mercy killing of newborns

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 14 July 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:126
  1. Tony Sheldon
  1. Utrecht

    Dutch paediatricians have voted unanimously to adopt as national guidelines the so called Groningen protocol that covers the mercy killing of newborn babies who are incurably sick and are suffering severely. The Dutch Paediatric Society accepted that “in exceptional circumstances and under strict conditions… deliberate ending of life” of such newborns “can be an acceptable option.”

    The protocol gives exact details of the requirements doctors must follow and includes the mandatory reporting of all cases. The local protocol drawn up at Groningen University Hospital last autumn caused an international outcry. Its clinical director of paediatrics, Eduard Verhagen, told the BMJ at the time, “It is …

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