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MENAFN - Arab News - 15/02/2014
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(MENAFN -Arab News) BRUSSELS: Belgian lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to extend the country’s euthanasia law to children under 18

The law empowers children with terminal ailments who are in great pain to ask to be put to death by their doctor if their parents agree and a psychiatrist or psychologist certifies they are conscious of what their choice signifies

How Belgium’s child euthanasia law will work

Step 1: Euthanasia la

Belgian law sets no specific timetable for euthanasia to be carried out from the time a patient first expresses the wish to be put to death. Dr. Gerlant van Berlaer, a pediatric critical care specialist at University Hospital Brussels, says in practice it takes weeks or months. A federal commission, half of whose 16 members must be medical doctors, was created by the 2002 law to examine all cases of euthanasia in Belgium and to ensure the procedures established by the law are respected

Step 2: Incurable illnes

The child must have a terminal and incurable illness, with death expected to occur “within a brief period.” The child must also be experiencing “constant and unbearable physical suffering.” Like for adults desiring euthanasia, that diagnosi and prognosis must be agreed upon by the treating physician and an outsider brought in to give a second opinion

Step 3: Understands what they are doin

The child is to be interviewed by a pediatric psychiatrist or psychologist, who must determine that the child possesses “the capacity of discernment” and certify that in writing

Step 4: Gets The agreement of parent

The child’s physician must meet with the child’s parents or legal representatives to inform them of the results of the consultation, and ensure they are in agreement with the child’s request to be euthanized

Step 5: Request in writin

The child’s request for euthanasia, as well as the agreement by parents or legal representatives, must be delivered in writing

Step 6: Emotional support for al

The child and family must be given psychological care if they ask for it

Step 7: Euthanasi

There are two methods, according to Dr. Marc Van Hoey of Antwerp who says he performs between three and 10 euthanasia procedures a year. A terminally ill person can drink a barbiturate-laden syrup themselves or a doctor can administer the drug into an intravenous tube. Death comes within minutes either way.


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