Doctor Investigated for Hastening the Death of Two Terminally Ill Babies

An act that is "tantamount to euthanasia"
Tue Jul 10, 2007 - 12:15 pm EST

By Elizabeth O’Brien

ABERDEEN, Scotland, July 10, 2007 ( - The National Health Service Grampian (NHSG) is investigating a consultant neonatologist at NHSG’s Aberdeen Maternity Hospital for hastening the death of two terminally ill babies by overdosing them with a muscle relaxant drug, the Scotsman reports.

In 2005 Dr. Michael Munro injected the dying babies with a huge dose of Pancuronium, a drug that is used in the lethal injection of US death row prisoners, although it is also a general medical anesthetic. While Munro has admitted to performing the deed, he denies that his actions were "inappropriate" or "below the standard."

Representing the General Medical Council (GMC), Andrew Long explained in the Scotsman, "These primary facts are admitted and indeed Dr. Munro admits his conduct was outside accepted professional practice; but Dr. Munro does not accept that it was inappropriate, contrary to guidelines or below the standard expected of a medical practitioner."

He continued, "The GMC asserts that it was all of these things and tantamount to a form of euthanasia, even though death was inevitable."

The case of Baby Y first came to the attention of the authorities after colleagues expressed dissatisfaction with Munro’s actions. Baby Y had suffered a brain haemorrhage, and the family decided to remove his breathing support. As the baby began to experience the painful death throes known as "agonal gasping", its parents became extremely distressed. Munro told them how their child’s death could be hastened, but that it "was on the verge of what society finds acceptable." They agreed to let him administer the drug.

The recent investigation discovered that the doctor had also injected another dying baby, Lewis Anderson, or Baby X, only a few months earlier. Munro failed to make a record of using the drug for either baby, but he claims that he was not intentionally being deceptive, reports the Scotsman.

At present, Munro has retained his post and yesterday, the Guardian Unlimited reports, many of the charges against him were dropped.

While baby euthanasia is illegal in the United Kingdom, last year Britain’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology proposed that active euthanasia be permitted on babies born with serious health problems. It argued that having this post-birth "option", might prevent parents from having abortions (see

  To respectfully voice concerns, contact the National Health Service Grampian:
  NHS Grampian Feedback Service
  St Martin’s House
  181 Union Street
  Aberdeen  AB11 6BB
  Phone: 0845 337 6338
  Email: [email protected].

Read related LifeSiteNews coverage:

UK Doctors Propose Euthanasia for Children Against Parents Wishes

  UK Government Backs "Euthanasia by Neglect"

  Dutch Euthanasia Doctor Admits to Killing 4 Newborns With Lethal Injections

  Holland to Allow Baby Euthanasia

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