This powerful film tracks the dedicated staff of a Ducth intensive care neo-natal ward and engages with the ethical issues that confront them daily.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2008
Profound and sometimes distressing, this powerful film tracks from up close the staff of a Dutch intensive care neo-natal ward as they care for severely premature newborns. The technology at their disposal allows life to be sustained where death would once have been inevitable, thereby giving rise to grave ethical considerations. Is it right to inflict further suffering in the endeavour to save lives when the odds of succeeding are low; what "quality of life" awaits babies when treatment could result in serious disabilities; if a baby cannot survive without being hooked to a machine, then what "life" is it living? Faced with these questions on a daily basis, these dedicated paediatricians have established a rigorous protocol, but one which has caused an outcry: Dutch paediatricians have been accused of taking a Nazi-like view of their life and death powers. This close encounter leaves us in no doubt that this team is utterly scrupulous and that they are reminded daily that the power of medical science has its limits. — SR