rdejong_115.jpgThe IF award 2008 is given to Dr Rob de Jong, paediatric neurosurgeon, on account of his scientific contributions concerning the debate on active euthanasia and his critical comments and publications on this issue. He has published a scientific paper covering pain and unbearable suffering by babies with Spina Bifida. His thesis: children with Spina Bifida are not suffering unbearably and pain can be managed. He has researched the issue of pain in newborns with Spina Bifida, concluding that when the baby suffers from pain, it can be alleviated easily. Besides, ‘unbearable and hopeless suffering’ are very subjective experiences. Presenting the consequences of Spina Bifida in such a negative way, creates an incorrect and narrow-minded image of this neural tube defect. As a result, many parents themselves request for life-termination! The criteria used in the Groningen protocol are incorrect, it is incompatible with human rights and it is unclear in whose interest these decisions are.

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