Euthanasia of newborns under the microscope

By March 5, 2014 Recent News

Mercatornet 4 March 2014
Euthanasia is defined as the act of intentionally ending the life of a terminally ill and suffering person in a quick and painless manner for reasons of compassion and mercy.
Euthanasia was practiced by the ancients. The term means “good death,” and the practice was to allow the patient to die in peace and with dignity. For the physician, it would mean caring for the patient and alleviating pain and suffering. However, the physician of ancient times could also cause the death of the patient. One physician would heal; another would provide the poison draught to cause the death of the patient.
The Oath of Hippocrates (ca. 500 BC) was the first attempt from a group of concerned physicians to establish a set of ethical principles that defined the physician as healer, rejecting the role of executioner. The principle of “primum non nocere,” first do no harm, from where the modern concepts of beneficence and non-maleficence are derived, became one of the guidelines in the doctor-patient relationship.(1,2)
The current concept of euthanasia is based on the utilitarian worldview; the main principle is individual autonomy. The value of the individual is defined in terms of quality of life and contribution to society. Voluntary euthanasia is euthanasia provided for a competent person with his informed consent. Involuntary euthanasia is euthanasia performed without the person’s consent.