Many doctors in favour of acting to end the life of new-borns with serious afflictions

Over six out of ten Flemish doctors and nurses working at hospital departments caring for new-borns believe that it should be possible to actively end the lives of new-borns suffering serious afflictions.  The daily De Standaard broke the results of a survey carried out by the research group Care Around Life Ending linked to the universities of Ghent and Brussels (VUB).

At present active interventions to end the lives of new-borns remain illegal in Belgium.  Women can request a termination up until the birth of their baby, if serious abnormalities are diagnosed or when the mother’s life is in danger. Euthanasia is only possible for adults.

An overwhelming majority of doctors and nurses working at hospital departments caring for new-borns believe it should be possible not to start certain treatments with the aim of ending life.

“When we’re talking about not starting a treatment all doctors that responded to the survey feel that that should be possible” says researcher Laure Dombrecht. “It’s the view of 95% of nurses too.”

Nurses more than doctors are in favour of administering drugs to end life: 60% of doctors and nearly 75% of nurses. Laure Dombrecht: “Probably doctors are less minded to do so because they bear end responsibility.”

Researchers now intend to investigate how often medical staff face such questions.  Medical staff and parents too will be quizzed.