Thursday, September 18, 2014

Newborn case in France was falsely labelled as euthanasia.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The case of a premature baby in France, where the parents are demanding that medical treatment be discontinued while the doctors believe that the child needs more time, is not a case of euthanasia, as the media has reported, but rather a case of who has the right to decide to withdraw medical treatment.

The story published by titled: Baby euthanasia case spurs debate in France - concerns a baby boy, Titouan, who was born prematurely on August 31. 

The article quotes Titouan's mother, Melanie as saying:
“We made this decision over a week ago,” 
“Who wants their son to live the life of a handicapped person? Maybe some families want this, but we don’t.”
The article quotes Professor Fabrice Pierre of the department of gynecology and obstetrics at University Hospital Center of Poitiers (CHU) who said:
“If we want to be able to fully understand the consequences [of the haemorrhage], we can’t rush this. We need a few weeks to evaluate his condition.” 
“Currently, we are not giving him intensive treatment; we are simply giving him life support to give us the time to do a proper evaluation.”
Normally the parents or guardian have the right to decide to withhold or withdraw medical treatment. Sometimes the decision of the parents or guardian is not in the best interests of the patient. In France, it appears that the decision is made by the doctors. The article states:
... the 2005 law also puts the decision in the hands of the doctors. Faced with the repeated demands of Titouan’s parents, CHU’s neonatal unit sought out the advice of an ethics panel. They have yet to make a decision.
Labelling this case as euthanasia creates a false impression of what euthanasia is and is not. Euthanasia is to directly and intentionally cause the death of a person. It is usually done by lethal injection and it is a form of homicide.

If the doctors withdraw all treatment from Titouan, and if he dies, it would be a natural death, unless they lethally inject him or intentionally dehydrate him to death.

Titouan died on September 18.


Anonymous said...

this is very difficult ethical dilemma I don't think the treatment should be withdrawn yet as it was started , as nobody knows about how the brain body and nature works, not even doctors and it could be that with a longer treatment this baby might just pull trough. It is hard for me to understand why parents wouldn't want continue the treatment and give their baby a chance.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Normally I do not publish Anonymous comments but your points are well taken.

The end result was that this child died Thursday, September 18.

This child was very premature, nonetheless I agree that the baby should be given a chance.