Earlier tonight, I was watching the documentary Als we het zouden weten. It’s about the neonatology department of the UMC Groningen — the intensive care for children that are born too early — and the decisions and questions about life and death they have to face there. Can we decide for a very small child that the quality of life is so low it isn’t worth living? What is quality of life, for that matter, and should that be left to doctors to decide? At what point should you stop treating an incurable patient?
Having witnessed such a situation from the sideline (the son of two very good friends was born 13 weeks too soon) made it lot harder for me to watch this documentary. There is no sense of disconnection, it isn’t a ‘far from my bed show’ (as we would call it in Dutch), it just hits and hits and hits. You can’t help but imagine that it isn’t some anonymous kid lying there. Which makes me appreciate the tough job that those doctors and nurses have to do even more.
Update: you can now watch the documentary online (in Dutch).