Well…That’s One Way to Keep Health Care Costs Down

A Hospital in the Netherlands has been euthenizing terminally ill babies.

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – Raising the stakes in an excruciating ethical debate, a hospital in the Netherlands – the first nation to permit euthanasia – recently proposed guidelines for mercy killings of terminally ill newborns, and then made a startling revelation: It has already begun carrying out such procedures in a handful of cases and reporting them to the government.

The announcement last month by the Groningen Academic Hospital came amid a growing discussion in Holland on whether to legalize euthanasia on people incapable of deciding for themselves whether they want to end their lives – a prospect viewed with horror by euthanasia opponents and as a natural evolution by advocates.

In August, the main Dutch doctors’ association KNMG urged the Health Ministry to create an independent board to review euthanasia cases for terminally ill people “with no free will,” including children, the severely mentally retarded, and people left in an irreversible coma after an accident.

I’m curious. Do other countries in Europe practice a form of “passive euthanasia”? That is, if a patient is terminally ill and is going to die is the patient merely kept comfortable with pain killers, and no “heroic” measures taken.

Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. BigFire says:

    This is news? Elderly have been reluctant to check into the hospital for fear of getting involuntarily euthanasia by doctors (this is back when the government first ok doctor assisted euthanasia). I’m surprised that they even bother tracking terminally illed babies. They probably think of them as retro-active abortion of post-uterus tissues.

  2. Kurt says:

    I guess Germany in the 30’s was way ahead of it’s time, they were doing that to terminally ill newborns, adolescents, the aged, and then they got such a good result, that it just ballooned.