Autopsy compulsory in all sudden deaths of children
23 June 2006, AMSTERDAM — Dutch government decided on Friday that an independent pathologist will in future carry out an investigation every time a child dies unexpectedly.
23 June 2006
AMSTERDAM — Dutch government decided on Friday that an independent pathologist will in future carry out an investigation every time a child dies unexpectedly.
It has been left up to general practitioners until now to decide if a child's death is natural. A pathologist is called in if the doctor has doubts. It was agreed at the weekly Cabinet meeting that in future an autopsy will be automatic.
Ministers hope that this will help identify cases of child abuse. There have been several high profile cases in the Netherlands in recent years of children being abused and murdered by their parents or guardians.
Professional bodies represented on a commission on the subject have recommended guidelines on the investigation necessary to establish the cause of an unexpected death of a child.
Labour MP Khadija Arib expressed surprise at the decision. She is the author of draft legislation which she says has the same intent. It has been delayed for a month and a half while its legality is examined by the Council of State.
The government also decided to change the law in relation to burials in general. Ministers agreed that the burial rights can lapse if surviving relatives fail to maintain a grave in good order. Changes will also be made to the period of time crematoria are obliged to keep urns.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news