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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20706244-401,00.html

ONE of Britain's leading medical colleges is calling on the health profession to consider permitting the euthanasia of seriously disabled newborn babies.

The idea is abhorrant to most of us but faced with a child who has seriously dibilitating disability would you like the choice to end it's life?? I doubt I could live with myself. :(

Interesting point:

"We can terminate for serious fetal abnormality up to term but cannot kill a newborn," he said. "What do people think has happened in the passage down the birth canal to make it OK to kill the fetus at one end of the birth canal but not at the other?"

I suppose this brings up the whole termination debate but the author has a point....where do we draw the line? But by the same token why not kill children of any age who are severely disabled if the parents are struggling?....it just doesn't sit right with me.
 

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Uh even babies classed as severely disabled can improve with the right care, I did. It's a touchy subject with me but unless the baby had no chance of living a good life I wouldn't even think about raising the subject of euthanasing it.
 

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I'm not sure that euthanase is really the correct terminology for what would happen (hopefully) in practice. There are a lot of newborn babies that cannot survive without medical intervention - very premature babies for instance. I think what people are really looking for is not to have to do everything within their power to keep a newborn baby alive if it is going to be seriously disabled.

there is a serious grey area in medical ethics and law, whereby an adult is allowed to specify that the wish to be DNR for instance, whereas a child cannot. Very few parents would specify that their child should be DNR, even if there chance for survival/meaningful existence is incredibly slim.

I don't see that there is a difference in terminating an unborn baby with severe disability, and euthanising a newborn baby with severe disability - only our perception of the first as a thing, and the second as a person (usually simply based on the fact that we can see, hear, and touch it).

I don't think that suddenly we would end up in a situation where it is considered ok to euthanise older children simply because the parents cannot cope; but conversely, there is already some acceptance of this - how often do judges/juries treat parents accused of murdering disabled children take this fact into account in the treatment of the case in the courts.

Medical advances have created a world in which standard ethical choices no longer exist; where it is possible to "force" a child into living, where in the past they would have died. It no longer seems acceptable to allow nature to take its course in the case of disabled births; however, it is easy to argue the converse: no one would refuse a child who had been in a road accident medical treatment on the basis that nature shoule be allowed to decide...

Advance apologies if i'm repeating anyone else's sentiments....

PS - Tyzer's case is a good example of why the logical, rational approach is very difficult to apply - the moral risk of assuming the facts of the case are enormous; on a par with the reasons why we no longer have the death penalty in this country. Its not easy to provide a solution that makes sense and is fair to everyone, whether that solution is to support severely disabled babies, or to euthanase them. I think that the option shouldn't be discounted, but i'm not sure that we have the medical knowledge and foresight available to always make the correct decision
 

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What I heard on Radio 4 this morning was the request to DNR on babies that were born in constant pain.
So do you choose to let a life exist for a short time in pain and discomfort - or not.


Quoting dubfettler's exquiste review of the issues
"Medical advances have created a world in which standard ethical choices no longer exist; where it is possible to "force" a child into living, where in the past they would have died. It no longer seems acceptable to allow nature to take its course in the case of disabled births; however, it is easy to argue the converse: no one would refuse a child who had been in a road accident medical treatment on the basis that nature shoule be allowed to decide..."

This is the moral dilemma we have brought on ourselves. What would have happened to some babies born in say 1950?
And where will we be in 2050?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I find it hard to equate the field of medicine with ending life....

I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.

I suppose we trust that doctors are doing thier utmost to preserve life and Euthanasia at any age goes against the Hippocratic oath....perhaps it's outdated?
 

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girlofleisure said:
I suppose we trust that doctors are doing thier utmost to preserve life and Euthanasia at any age goes against the Hippocratic oath....perhaps it's outdated?
possibly......im all for euthanasia.......
 

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IMO having a child born with no ability to communicate or move and live it`s days out in severe pain is wrong....thats the existence i would reserve as punishment for the worst members of society not the "life" for any child of mine.

There was a case of this at Addenbrookes hospital in Cambridge a while back where the doctors didn`t want to resusitate such a child but the parents constantly blocked it...i play rugby with one of the doctors involved and he was less than glowing in his assesment of the parents to say the least.
 

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BUDGET BUS said:
im all for euthanasia.......
me too (with the usual caveats)

and the Hippocratic oath hasn't been sworn to/used for a very long time... and includes no abortions
 

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dragster172 said:
IMO having a child born with no ability to communicate or move and live it`s days out in severe pain is wrong....thats the existence i would reserve as punishment for the worst members of society not the "life" for any child of mine.
and you know full well that in small hospitals and in home births since time began that this hasn't been an issue... it's only with modern interventions that keeping 'people' alive in that state has become an issue
 

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metric_thumbs said:
What would have happened to some babies born in say 1950?
i dont know about the 1950's but around the time that my parents were born 1930s and 40s, it was normal practice for midwifes to remove the baby and then come back and announce that it was still born, when in fact due to it being considered disabled they had smothered it.

it shocked me when my nan told me about that as im guessing it will shock many of you, but she said that is why there was not so many disabled babies around back then.

When my uncle was born his twin died and he was very very weak, knowing what she knew my nan refused them to take the babies out of her sight and insisted that she was the first to hold them, obviously she knew that both were alive because of this and one died almost immediately after the birth and they told her not to feed the other as he would have no quality of life, well my nan refused and fed him, they constantly told her that he would not survive and if he did he would never walk. well hes now 57 years old and although he has always suffered pain in his spine he has been walking since he was about 5 years old.

Ok medical science has come a long way since then but disabled doesnt always mean you have no quality of life, at what point do you draw the line and say that their quality is not or will not be good enough, who has the right to set the standard by which to judge.

but on the other hand i have always said that if my brain is no more than switch me off because i am but what my brain makes me, if i am brain dead then i am nothing but a shell
 

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chey said:
Ok medical science has come a long way since then but disabled doesnt always mean you have no quality of life, at what point do you draw the line and say that their quality is not or will not be good enough, who has the right to set the standard by which to judge.
I don`t think for a minute anybody wants to end a childs life just because it has a limp.....only the most severe cases.
 

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dragster172 said:
I don`t think for a minute anybody wants to end a childs life just because it has a limp.....only the most severe cases.
yes but there is always a dividing line, between yes and no, where would that line be set, what is considered severe. thats my point
 

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chey said:
yes but there is always a dividing line, between yes and no, where would that line be set, what is considered severe. thats my point
dragster172 said:
IMO having a child born with no ability to communicate or move and live it`s days out in severe pain is wrong....thats the existence i would reserve as punishment for the worst members of society not the "life" for any child of mine.
Something like this would be severe IMO-basically no quality of life at all and suffering pain.
In fact a lot of these cases would probably not need any assistance die just a DNR.

Awful subject btw.
 

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deciding criteria... drawing lines

whatever you want to call it, is far from impossible

it's readily done in numerous areas of medicine and mental health
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
peelo said:
deciding criteria... drawing lines

whatever you want to call it, is far from impossible

it's readily done in numerous areas of medicine and mental health
I can see how it might have a place but what worries me is that it could be used for convenience as well as in genuinely desperate situations. 'Severe disability' is open to interpretation.
 

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If i knew that it wouldbe impossible to lead a normal life and there would be lots of medical problems and suffering i would like the opportunity but it would have to be seriously bad to consider it, but i think the same for people that have no quality of life that are linked to machines 24/7 that do not want to continue but not allowed to end life, after all in animals we have the choice when the suffering is too bad and there is nothing that can be done we can euthanase.

I dont think it would be a bad thing if it is proven that there is no quality of life what so ever... and there is absolutely nothing that can be done to alleviate the suffering

It is something that there will alwasy be people for and against. personally it is something i would be in agreement with but only if the suffereing can be proven and there is no way of a life without pain.

this is only my opinion, and everyone is entitled to one, but having worked as a veterinary nurse i know it is not the same but to end a life is really distressing for the people around but it is sometimes the only last kindest thing you can do as well...

but please note it would be a last resort if there is nothing else possible to help alleviate pain discomfort and a life time of misery for the baby in question, if it was only for a physical deformity that the quality of life and a normal happy life can be achieved then no i would not be for it.... personally but at the same time, everyone has different views and no matter what there views i think that it is a personal choice, a lot of babies are adopted and passed on if parents cannot cope, to me this is sad, so i think it would depend on the situation again, but personally it would have to be very bad prognosis to consider euthanasia, a complication that is life threatening and not just physical problem that can be lived with .

Chelle x
 

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I do agree and i also disagree with euthanasie (sp) if someone is terminally ill and they are able to say what they want then that should happen after all we put animals down everyday that are ill and suffering yet we have to watch are loved ones suffer and in terrible pain, however with the disabled babies issue i don't agree just because a baby is born with a disabilty doesn't mean that they wont live a full life of love and happiness. I take my son to a place twice a week which help kids and young adults from like my son with speech needs to severly disabled and i can honestly say that all the kids i have seen are the most happy and loved they learn how to be independent.


Nearly six years ago i gave birth to my first child a little boy joshua he was born healthy but when he was 6 days old he became ill he was admitted into hospital then transferred to sheffield childrens hospital, he was kept on life support for 7 days.
In a way i think i am lucky as i didn't have to make the choice of weather to turn the life support off or keep it on because i know in my heart i couldn't have turned it off not because i thought he was gonna pull though i knew my little boy wasnt going to make it but because letting go is so hard.
I do think that some of the cases that we have seen on the news about parents fighting to keep there children alive even though all the doctors have said they wont live a happy life because there life will be in hospital they wont have any independence, i think this is wrong the parents are only doing this because they can't let go and in a way they are only doing it for themselves and they should think of the child.

I owe so much to sheffield childrens hospital all the doctors and nurses for all they did for joshua and the support they gave to me and the family. Joshua died in my arms peacefully on the 29th january 2001.
 

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BUDGET BUS said:
the eugenics movement was respected until hijacked and bastardised by the nazi's
If it wasn't for the nazis we'd have probably had it in Britain. I believe Churchill was a supporter of it in some form or another
 

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dr.dolittle said:
If it wasn't for the nazis we'd have probably had it in Britain. I believe Churchill was a supporter of it in some form or another
we did have it......it fell out of favour post war
 
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