Ethical issues relevant to a pandemic crisis: A local planning strategy to manage the intensive care unit admissions to hospitals

Olivier Descamps, Pierre Henin, Pierre Hanotier, Francois-Xavier Lens, Jean-Paul Meurant, Michèle Pieterbourg, Sébastien Loix, Vanessa Wauters, Isabelle Reusen . Published in the journal : May 2020 Category : Ethics

The region of Mons-Borinage and Center in the Province of Hainaut was one of the most affected by the COVID-19 epidemic in both the Walloon region and Belgium. While facing the constant flow of patients and threat of intensive care unit saturation in this part of the Hainaut Province, the various medical teams that were particularly involved in the care of these patients (intensive care, emergency care, department of general internal medicine and geriatrics) had to implement admission management strategies in collaboration with general practitioners, medical directors, and the ethics committees.

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Mental disease: open door to euthanasia?

Marc Brusselmans Published in the journal : November 2019 Category : Ethics

In 2002, Belgium adopted a law decriminalizing euthanasia in certain situations. One of this law’s particularities is that it opens the physician’s possibility to practice euthanasia following a patient’s request, which can be based on a constant and unbearable psychic suffering, in the context of a serious accidental or pathological affection, even without a fatal outcome in the short-term. However, this law raises serious ethical issues in the field of mental health, both concerning the concept of diagnosis in psychiatry as well as the incurability of mental illness. This may result in dangerous interpretations. The psychiatric function itself appears to be rather destabilized and challenged by the application of this law. Excesses are possible, and an in-depth reflection is thus paramount concerning the need to better protect the rights of the most vulnerable, such as, among others, the mentally ill.

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Denial of pregnancy and neonaticide: a poorly understood association. A clinical case report

A. Josset, Ch. Reynaert Published in the journal : January 2016 Category : Ethics

Mrs. H., aged 44 years, was unaware of her pregnancy when giving birth to a child in her bathroom, all by herself. She panicked and pressed the newborn against her chest just before fainting. When she regained consciousness shortly thereafter, her baby had died. The court sentenced her to prison for 10 years. This case is rather rare, yet far from being exceptional. Similar incidents have been reported in the past, some of these neonaticide mothers being found not guilty at trial. The vast majority of mothers did not have any apparent psychiatric disorder. The literature is inconsistent as to whether these women share similar characteristics or not.

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