Prince Friso - British versus Dutch Law on When It Is Time to Stop Life Support?
Posted Aug 31 2012 9:22pm
Prince Friso (of the Dutch Royal Family) has been in a coma for six months after he was caught in an avalanche while skiing in the Austrian resort of Lech. The prince had been buried for 25 minutes, followed by a 50-minute CPR to treat his cardiac arrest. The prince remains at a British hospital.
The six month point is key temporal threshold. A medical ethics specialist at the University of Rotterdam Erasmus Hospital said: "The six month point is a critical boundary. Up until that point you always hope for signs of improvement." ( Austrian Times )
Accordingly, Netherlands senator and medical ethicist Heleen Dupuis observes an interesting difference between the UK and the Netherlands. She stated: "It's questionable whether the prince will ever have a normal life again. . . . I understand that the chances are extremely small. Had the prince been sent to a Dutch hospital, doctors would probably have turned off the life support systems because there is such a slim possibility that he will ever recover." ( London Evening Standard ; The Australian )
The Netherlands has had a law, since 2002, that allows doctors to end treatment if a victim’s suffering is deemed to be “interminable and unbearable.”