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Medical practice and legal background of decisions for severely ill newborn infants: viewpoints from seven European countries

Authors


Correspondence

PJJ Sauer, Department of Pediatrics, University Medical Center Groningen, PO Box 30.001, 9700RB Groningen, the Netherlands. Tel: 0031-503614830 | Fax: 0031-503614077 | Email: p.j.j.sauer@umcg.nl

Abstract

Aim

To comparing attitudes towards end-of-life (EOL) decisions in newborn infants between seven European countries.

Methods

One paediatrician and one lawyer from seven European countries were invited to attend a conference to discuss the practice of EOL decisions in newborn infants and the legal aspects involved.

Results

All paediatricians/neonatologists indicated that the best interest of the child should be the leading principle in all decisions. However, especially when discussing cases, important differences in attitude became apparent, although there are no significant differences between the involved countries with regard to national legal frameworks.

Conclusion

Important differences in attitude towards neonatal EOL decisions between European countries exist, but they cannot be explained solely by medical or legal reasons.

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