Intended for healthcare professionals


Dutch doctors get guidance on care of terminally ill newborn babies

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 18 June 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3948
  1. Tony Sheldon
  1. 1Utrecht

The Royal Dutch Medical Association has published professional standards to try to clarify the line between palliative care of terminally ill newborn babies and deliberately killing them.

Driving the move is the apparent failure of doctors to report cases of mercy killing of newborn babies to the government’s expert review committee of physicians, lawyers, and ethicists, to which all such cases are meant to be reported. As with the Dutch policy on euthanasia, doctors who report and adhere to guidelines will not be prosecuted.1

However, since its launch in 2006 the Central Experts Committee has received only one case involving a newborn baby. Originally up to 20 reports a year …

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