No jail time for doctor convicted of murdering disabled child
A Dutch doctor who ended the life of a handicapped child has been found guilty of murder.
Incredibly, not only did the judge free him without sentence but even went so far as commending the doctor for his “integrity and courage.”
This case was supposed to be a test of the controversial Dutch mercy killing law which allows doctors to end the life of a terminally ill patient if the patient agrees to it and the doctor consults with others in the medical profession.
The test proved to be no test at all. It did, however, provide a clear indication of the non-role the courts will be taking in enforcing this already liberal law.
In March 1993, Doctor Henk Prins administered a lethal injection to a child who was born with spina bifida. The doctor had consulted with the parents of the baby but had, obviously, administered the dose without the consent of the patient. This had been a safeguard in the law which legislators promised would hinder the possibility of involuntary euthanasia.
At the time, those who opposed the law claimed the gulf from voluntary to involuntary euthanasia was a small one. They were right and the Netherlands, with-out any move on the part of the legislature, is now allowing all forms of euthanasia.
And, in so many words, the judge who ruled in this case pointed out that euthanasia is now a commendable action: “The court would like to express its admiration for your [Dr. Prins’] integrity and courage.”