Letter: Medical guidelines

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The Independent Online
Sir: Some of the examples given by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in its new guidelines give a very misleading impression of what constitutes "burden" in medical treatment. It is suggested that it would be legitimate not to institute life-saving treatment for a very low birthweight premature baby if that baby were likely to have a residual disability.

This suggests not that the treatment is inappropriate, but that a life with a disability is in some way not worth living. Such an example can only increase the fears of disabled people such as myself. The Royal College's guidelines are enshrining the idea that living with a disability is so awful that death is preferable, even when death could have been averted.

Letting children die who could be saved, solely because they will be disabled, is a form of discrimination against all people with disabilities.

Alison Davis

Blandford Forum, Dorset

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