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August 12, 1988

It's Almost Over— More Letters on Debbie

Author Affiliations

University Hospital Groningen (the Netherlands)

University Hospital Groningen (the Netherlands)

JAMA. 1988;260(6):788. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410060057013

To the Editor.—  The recent article "'Doctors Must Not Kill,"' written by a number of leaders in the field of medical ethics, is a statement by responsible individuals.1 I support their position.However, the statement, "In the Netherlands, where the barriers to physician's killing are gone," is in my opinion unfair and incorrect. While euthanasia is performed in the Netherlands, there is no legalization of euthanasia in this country. Our situation was recently summarized by Dr Else Borst-Eilers, vice chairperson of the Health Council of the Netherlands.2 A legal "barrier" does exist (although sometimes it is ignored), and many Dutch physicians set "personal barriers" from their own ethical and religious convictions to the performance of euthanasia as well.I can speak best concerning the situation in pediatric oncology. While there might be room for discussion about euthanasia in adults, I feel very strongly that euthanasia should not be