Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Italian Bishops: Euthanasia of child in Belgium 'pains us'

Image result for Cardinal Angelo BagnascoThe president of the Italian Bishops Conference has described the news of the euthanasia of a child in Belgium as painful and worrisome, reports CBC News.

"It pains us as Christians but it also pains us as persons," Genoa Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco told Italian news agency ANSA in response to the news that a terminally ill 17-year-old has become the first minor to be helped to die in Belgium since age restrictions on euthanasia requests were removed two years ago.

The head of the federal euthanasia commission said the teenager was "suffering unbearable physical pain."

Belgium is the only country that allows minors of any age to choose euthanasia. They must have rational decision-making capacity and be in the final stages of a terminal illness. The parents of those under 18 must also give their consent.

Euthanasia commission head Wim Distelmans said the teenager was "nearly 18." He said doctors used "palliative sedation," which involves putting patients into an induced coma, as part of the process,

"Fortunately there are very few children who are considered [for euthanasia] but that does not mean we should refuse them the right to a dignified death," he told the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper.

Mr Distelmans told Reuters news agency the case had been reported to his committee by a local doctor last week.

The Netherlands also allows euthanasia for minors, but they must be aged over 12.

Belgium lifted the age restrictions in 2014. 

The law passed by parliament said the child would have to be terminally ill, face "unbearable physical suffering," and make repeated requests to die before euthanasia is considered.

No comments: