The Cabinet has agreed to allow euthanasia for very sick children who have exhausted their treatment options, in line with a proposal announced by Health Minister Ernst Kuipers last year.
For years, doctors have called for regulations to cover children between the ages of 1 and 12. Guidelines already exist for infants, and those over the age of 12 fall under common euthanasia laws.
Kuipers said in a congressional briefing that the protocol for babies would be expanded and revised to cover children under the age of 12 who are suffering excruciatingly and for whom palliative care options are not sufficient to relieve their symptoms. Said it was planned.
“This is a particularly complex issue dealing with a very dire situation,” Kuipers said. “After intensive consultation with all concerned, we are pleased to have arrived at a solution that will help these seriously ill children, their parents and their doctors.”
Given that the coalition has two Christian parties and is following a move to expand current euthanasia guidelines to cover patients with severe dementia who are no longer able to give consent, the debate is rife. politically sensitive.
Euthanasia is only possible if it is the only option to end the child’s suffering. “We are talking about children who are so ill that death is inevitable and are expected to die soon,” Kuipers said in a briefing.
Five to 10 children a year are likely to be covered by the guidelines, according to the Ministry of Health.
2019 report Experts at medical teaching hospitals in Groningen, Rotterdam and Amsterdam have found that a small number of children may be suffering because doctors fear the consequences of actions that could hasten death. rice field.
A survey of 72 physicians found that an overwhelming majority of physicians believe it is acceptable to actively end the lives of children under the age of 12 who are in acute distress at the request of their parents. and believes the new law should allow this.
However, the study found no indication that euthanasia had been performed on children under the age of 12 in a 2015 study that resulted in 296 deaths.
https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2023/04/dutch-cabinet-clears-way-for-euthanasia-for-terminally-ill-children/ Dutch cabinet paves the way for euthanasia for terminally ill patients