Doctoraatsverdediging Veerle Provoost
End-of-life decisions in neonates and infants in Flanders, Belgium

Pregnancy and the arrival of a newborn infant are associated with hope and new beginning. In Western countries, fortunately, the birth of a child mostly is a positive happening. However, in a small number of cases it all turns out to be very different. The data presented in this thesis were collected form a cohort of 298 life-born children who died before their first birthday in Flanders. For each of these children there is an individual story and each death was a tragedy for their family and caregivers. For more than four years we studied these data, especially focussing on decisions that were made prior to death. This thesis results from the study of these data. With this study, I hope to contribute to the knowledge about end-of-life decisions which can improve health care even in these difficult moments. In that way, the tragic stories of these children, who, in some cases, only lived very shortly, can contribute to the improval of care at the end of life in newborns and infants.


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