Intended for healthcare professionals


Dutch legal protection scheme for doctors involved in mercy killing of babies receives first report

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 24 November 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4993
  1. Tony Sheldon
  1. 1Utrecht

    The Dutch system designed to protect from prosecution doctors who are involved in the mercy killing of severely ill newborn babies who are judged to be suffering unbearably and hopelessly seems to be struggling to gain professional acceptance. The first case is only now being considered, more than two years after the system’s introduction. Research had estimated there should be 15 to 20 such cases a year (New England Journal of Medicine 2005;352:959-62).

    MPs learnt through parliamentary questions on 18 November that the first report of the decision to end the life of a severely ill baby had been filed in the Netherlands. No more details have been released.

    The expert committee set up …

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