Examining The Groningen Protocol: Comparing The Treatment Of Terminally-Ill Infants in The Netherlands With Treatment Given In The United States and England

In 2004, after two unsuccessful attempts to prosecute physicians who euthanized infants, physicians at the University Medical Centre in Groningen, with the help of the local prosecutor, produced the “Groningen protocol.” This protocol set out a procedure for physicians to use if their intention is to end the life of a terminally-ill infant. The use of the protocol creates vast differences between the treatment of terminally-ill infants in the United States and England, on the one hand, and in the Netherlands on the other hand. The Kadijk and Pearson cases illustrate the application of the Groningen protocol while comparing the treatment of terminally-ill infants in the Netherlands, the United States, and England. While the Groningen protocol may appear to be extreme, the two case studies illustrate that the protocol has two advantages over the solutions provided in the United States and England. First, the Groningen protocol provides a quicker and more humane death for infants who are in pain and have a terminal diagnosis. Second, the Groningen protocol can be used as a regulatory device and can help to ensure transparency in the health care system.”

Author: Darin Achilles
Wisconsin International Law Journal, 28:4

For full article, see Volume 28:4

Image source: Jeremy Hetzel,  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jthetzel/