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Euthanasie Stop > Pediatricians' Open Letter to all Belgian Political Party Presidents

Pediatricians' Open Letter to all Belgian Political Party Presidents

Posted on 2014/02/10 at 2h29  Categorie Official positions

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170  Paediatricians 170 Paediatricians

On their concern about extending the law on euthanasia

A group of 75 pediatricians and higher education professors today forwarded an open letter to all Belgian political party presidents. The doctors, who care daily for sick children, ask that further thought be given before extending the law on euthanasia for minors. Without demanding that the bill be scrapped, they nevertheless do demand a time for reflexion.

The signatories of the letter work in a variety of health centres and hospitals around the country. They draw up their main points following the ongoing debates in the Lower House of Parliament.

• On the basis of their daily experience, the doctors believe there is no actual demand for an extension of the law. Spontaneous and deliberate requests for euthanasia are extremely rare on the part of minors. Even the most complex medical cases can be addressed through available means and expertise within the present legal framework. A recent survey of 54 pediatricians in 19 countries likewise demonstrates the lack abroad of any more relevant requests in the field.

• Means of alleviating pain are widespread in Belgium within present medical scope, far more so than in most other countries. No patient, no child therefore, need suffer nowadays. As of today we are perfectly capable of controlling physical pain, smothering or anguish in the throes of death. Established palliative care teams for children are fully able to relieve pain, whether in hospital or at home. The bill proposed for extending euthanasia was dealt with far too rapidly in the Senate and the Lower House: just the other day all demands for further hearings of pediatric experts in the Lower House were dismissed. Hence the Parliament's inability to give due consideration to experts' first-hand opinions.

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