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Old 10-18-2004, 09:23 AM  
redbrian redbrian is offline
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Regardless of political stance……..

this should scare the hell out of you.

Netherlands Doctors hold the right to euthanize children up to 12 without parents consent…..children 13 and over have the right to commit suicide with Doctors assistants.


http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/9945816.htm?1c

Europe wrestles with child euthanasia

By MATTHEW SCHOFIELD

The Star's foreign correspondent

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Four times in recent months, Dutch doctors have pumped lethal doses of drugs into newborns they think are terminally ill.

The actions have set off a new phase in a growing European debate over when, if ever, it is acceptable to hasten death for the critically ill.

Few details of the four newborns' deaths have been made public. Official investigations have found that the doctors made appropriate and professional decisions under an experimental policy allowing child euthanasia that is known as the Groningen University Hospital protocol.

But the children's deaths, and the possibility that the protocol will become standard practice throughout the Netherlands, have sparked heated discussion about whether the idea of assisting adults who seek to die should ever be applied to children and others who are incapable of making, or understanding, such a request.

“Applying euthanasia to children is another step down the slope in this debate,” said Henk Jochemsen, director of the Lindeboom Institute, which studies medical ethics. “Not everybody agrees, obviously, but when we broaden the application from those who actively and repeatedly seek to end their lives to those for whom someone else determines death is a better option, we are treading in dangerous territory.”

The Dutch debate is being closely watched throughout the continent. Belgium has laws similar to those in the Netherlands, and a bill permitting child euthanasia is before its Parliament. No date has been set for debate.

Great Britain is considering legalizing assisted suicide for the terminally ill, amid reports that doctors already may be helping thousands of patients to die each year.

“Assisted dying is a fact,” said Hazel Biggs, director of medical law at the University of Kent, who is about to publish a report estimating the number of assisted deaths in Britain at 18,000 annually. “We have to regulate it, to ensure that vulnerable people are being protected.”

Under the Groningen protocol, if doctors at the hospital think a child is suffering unbearably from a terminal condition, they have the authority to end the child's life. The protocol is likely to be used primarily for newborns, but it covers any child up to age 12.

The hospital, beyond confirming the protocol in general terms, refused to discuss its details.

“It is for very sad cases,” said a hospital spokesman, who declined to be identified. “After years of discussions, we made our own protocol to cover the small number of infants born with such severe disabilities that doctors can see they have extreme pain and no hope for life. Our estimate is that it will not be used but 10 to 15 times a year.”

A parent's role is limited under the protocol. While experts and critics familiar with the policy said a parent's wishes to let a child live or die naturally most likely would be considered, they note that the decision must be professional, so it rests with doctors.

The protocol was written by hospital doctors and officials, with help from Dutch prosecutors. It is being studied by lawmakers as potential law.

Under the protocol, assisted infant deaths are investigated, but so far all of them have been determined to have been in the patients' best interests.

Euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands since 1994. Under the law, any critically ill patient over age 12 can request an assisted death, including adults in the early stages of dementia.

The law doesn't allow involuntary euthanasia, nor does it apply to children under age 12, who aren't considered aware enough to make a life-or-death choice.

Dutch doctors have some intentional role in 3.4 percent of all deaths, according to statistics published in The Lancet medical journal. About 0.6 percent are patients who didn't ask to be euthanized, the journal said.

Dutch courts often treat those cases leniently if an investigation determines that the doctor acted out of concern for the patient's well-being.

Opponents of expanding euthanasia to the young cite a recent Dutch court ruling against punishment for a doctor who injected fatal drugs into an elderly woman after she told him she didn't want to die.

The court determined that he had made “an error of judgment,” but had acted “honorably and according to conscience.”

News reports say that since that decision, some elderly hospital patients are carrying written appeals not to be euthanized. A German company has proposed a nursing home just across the border from the Netherlands that would be promoted to aging Dutch residents as a safe haven in a country where euthanasia is illegal and likely to remain so.

What happens to vulnerable people is a particularly sharp issue in a continent where birthrates have declined and populations have aged. Euthanasia opponents fear that as costs increase for long-term intensive care, and health-care budgets become more strained, financial reasons could creep into euthanasia debates.

“The danger, of course, is ensuring a debate on the right to die does not become one on a duty to die,” said Urban Wiesing, chairman for ethics in medicine at Germany's prestigious Eberhard Karls Tuebingen University.

The issue is a particularly delicate one in Germany, where euthanasia was used by the Nazis as cover for wide-scale murders of the disabled, among others.

European advocates of expanding euthanasia laws say they are acting in the best humanitarian tradition to halt intolerable suffering. Belgian Sens. Jeannine Leduc and Paul Wille noted that motive in their proposed law: “Their suffering is as great, the situation they face is as intolerable and inhumane,” they said.

But others worry: After children, who will be next?

“I do accept that there are very difficult cases, very rare cases where a baby is in such pain that death would be the humane option,” Dutch ethicist Jochemsen said. “But hard cases make bad laws. As soon as a law is passed, it will expand the number of those who are considered extreme cases.”

There is little evidence that permitting euthanasia has had much impact on the number of assisted deaths, argued Rotterdam epidemiologist Agnes van der Heide, who has measured euthanasia in Europe for 10 years.

She said her research indicated that the number of assisted deaths in the Netherlands had increased only slightly in 10 years of legalization. She said the inclusion under the law of such groups as those in the beginning stages of dementia and terminally ill 12- to 16-year-olds accounted for only a few cases nationwide each year, similar to predictions on child euthanasia.

“And the fact remains, euthanasia typically shortens life by one month against life expectancy,” she said. “There are no trends showing an increase in that number, or in the estimation that quality of life in these cases is so poor that life should not continue. I know the debate focuses on worst-case scenarios, and abuse. There's no evidence of those things taking place.”
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Old 10-18-2004, 09:26 AM   #2
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God complex on steroids.

That would really give the parents another way to force their kids to mind.

"If you don't stop it, I will take you to the doctors office."

Enough to scare any kid into shape.
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Old 10-18-2004, 09:28 AM   #3
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Old 10-18-2004, 09:29 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duck Dog
God complex on steroids.

That would really give the parents another way to force their kids to mind.

"If you don't stop it, I will take you to the doctors office."

Enough to scare any kid into shape.
Make you think twice before you let a Doctor give you a shot or a pill to take.
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Old 10-18-2004, 10:10 AM   #5
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I support euthenasia under certain very controlled and limited circumstances.

As the population of America ages and millions of Americans are stricken with alzheimers and other long-term illnesses/diseases that neither families nor the government can underwrite, I suspect the feeling of most Americans will come around to my point of view on this topic as well.
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Old 10-18-2004, 10:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnorix
I support euthenasia under certain very controlled and limited circumstances.

As the population of America ages and millions of Americans are stricken with alzheimers and other long-term illnesses/diseases that neither families nor the government can underwrite, I suspect the feeling of most Americans will come around to my point of view on this topic as well.
euthenasia for alzheimers?, damn - I think that is extreme, and all because of cost?

Sorry but I could never go that far, cancer maybe, and if you note the majority of cases reported in the articale only saved the State one month of costs.
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Old 10-18-2004, 11:06 AM   #7
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Ahhh, post birth abortions.


It was just a matter of time.
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Old 10-18-2004, 11:08 AM   #8
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Old 10-18-2004, 11:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCWolfman
Ahhh, post birth abortions.


It was just a matter of time.
Exactly.
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Old 10-18-2004, 11:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCWolfman
Ahhh, post birth abortions.


It was just a matter of time.
The part that gets me is the parents have no say in the matter, it's all up to the State run Doctors, in the name of saving a buck.

Isn't Gov. run health care system grand.
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Old 10-19-2004, 06:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbrian
euthenasia for alzheimers?, damn - I think that is extreme, and all because of cost?

Sorry but I could never go that far, cancer maybe, and if you note the majority of cases reported in the articale only saved the State one month of costs.
My father and his two brothers all had alzheimers. Believe me, if I were starting to get it, and it were legal, I would quickly arrange to be euthenized at a certain point in time. Quality of life is absolutely GONE. The person is technically living, but everything that made him/her who he/she was isn't there anymore. It's horrendous for everyone involved.

It is NOT just a cost issue. But it WILL be a massive cost issue going forward. Alot of families can't support both day care for their kids and nursing home care for their parents. To take care of their parents and kids would be a tremendous burden, and would mean someone needs to leave the workforce. Currently, there are at least some state/federal programs that help if the sick individual's resources/assets are small enough to qualify, but this problem is going to MUSHROOM in an incredibly way over the next 30 or so years.

And it's not just alzheimers. As medical technology advances, we are mroe and more able to keep people alive for a tremendously long period of time, but with aging, many issues crop up.
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Old 10-19-2004, 06:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCWolfman
Ahhh, post birth abortions.


It was just a matter of time.
Call it what you will, I think it will be a moral and economic necessity before my time comes, if I live to be the ripe old age I was.

My father spent the last 2 years of his life staring at a wall, drooling, not recognizing anyone, unable to speak, and not interacting with anyone in any kind of meaningful way.

If I had had to foot the cost for this, it would have cost me approximately $9,000 per month, or $108,000 per year, to maintain this "life" that I think it's fair to say no one would want.

I think the primary difference between euthenasia and abortion that you may be able to wrap your brains around is that euthenasia would in all, or nearly all, instances be a decision made by the person who is committing suicide.

I would, of course, expect very strict standards to be employed in connection with any such law (including a sign-off from a doctor that the patient has a terminal and/or completely debiliating illness, and that there is no current cure for such illlness).

Let me say this, VERY CLEARLY. I would much rather arrange for my own death than to spend the last few years as my father did, and in the meantime cause my family tremendous anguish and a tremendous depletion of family assets.

I could, of course, put a gun to my head or OD on pills or somesuch, but I note that this is (1) much more traumatic for the family, and (2) would probably (definitely?) result in voiding any/all life insurance policies on the insured.

It's 2004, and time to recognize that life is precious, but it makes no sense to impose a set of rules that force people to live life until the very last second allowed by nature, regardless of all other circumstances.

Nobody pretends that these issues are pleasant or easily dealt with. But we WILL need to stop closing our eyes about the whole thing very soon now.
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Old 10-19-2004, 06:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbrian
The part that gets me is the parents have no say in the matter, it's all up to the State run Doctors, in the name of saving a buck.

Isn't Gov. run health care system grand.
For the record, I am not in agreement with the procedures set forth in the article you posted. That's not the kind of stuff I'm talking about when I say I support euthenasia in limited circumstances.
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Old 10-19-2004, 07:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnorix
For the record, I am not in agreement with the procedures set forth in the article you posted. That's not the kind of stuff I'm talking about when I say I support euthenasia in limited circumstances.
I have no problem with an individual well over the age of 21 setting down with their lawyer and writing up a very specific document on how, when and why they would like to be put down.

But the State or others (regardless of cost or hardship), have the right to make that decision.

The precedent being set by the Netherlands is going way beyond anything remotely moral.

As a side note my wife’s grandfather had dementia in his last years, and I don’t think any member of the family would have wanted to put him down, even after he got violent.
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Old 10-19-2004, 07:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbrian
I have no problem with an individual well over the age of 21 setting down with their lawyer and writing up a very specific document on how, when and why they would like to be put down.

But the State or others (regardless of cost or hardship), have the right to make that decision.

The precedent being set by the Netherlands is going way beyond anything remotely moral.

As a side note my wife’s grandfather had dementia in his last years, and I don’t think any member of the family would have wanted to put him down, even after he got violent.
I agree with all of the above, including disagreeing with the Netherland's policy, which seems completely insane to me.

I'm sorry about your wife's grandfather. I don't know what kind of dementia he had. Alot of the time there are periods of lucidity or the dementia isn't all-encompassing.

My father, unfortunately, was completely uncommunicative for the last 2-3 years of his life. There was also no "light" of recognition or intelligence behind his eyes. He was in all ways, except body, already gone.

In any event, I'm not saying that this would be the right choice for everybody. I'm also not saying that it shoudl be forced on anyone. I'm merely saying that the OPTION needs to exist, under certain limited circumstances. Right now, your only options are (1) let it take its course, (2) find a way to commit illegal suicide.

Dr. Kevorkian had it right in some respects, IMHO...
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