Pediatricians ‘Increasingly’ Asked About Euthanasia for Kids

The Canadian Paediatric Society is urging improved palliative care for children and youth as a key part of preparing for the possibility of legalizing medical assistance in dying for certain patients under age 18 . . .

“Where the issue of medical assistance in dying is ever raised by a child, you know, we would advocate that that should automatically be a referral for pediatric palliative care.”

When Bill C-14, the law governing medically assisted dying for adults, was passed in June 2016, it included a requirement that the ministers of justice and health initiate an independent review on whether “mature minors” — youth under age 18 but deemed capable of giving consent — should be eligible for medically assisted death. That review is expected to be presented to Parliament by December 2018.

Davies, who is chairing the working group on mature minors as part of that review, is the lead author of a report released by the Canadian Paediatric Society on Thursday. The report made the palliative care recommendation and also summarized the results of surveys asking pediatricians about their views on making assisted death available to terminally ill young patients, and whether they had received any inquiries or requests about it . . .

Thirty-five pediatricians said they had “exploratory discussions” with a total of 60 patients under the age of 18 in the preceding year. Nine pediatricians received “explicit requests” for assisted death from a total of 17 minors. (Read more from “Pediatricians ‘Increasingly’ Asked About Euthanasia for Kids” HERE)

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