Send to

Choose Destination
Nurs Ethics. 2000 Mar;7(2):141-7.

'They have to show that they can make it': vitality as a criterion for the prognosis of premature infants.

Author information

Department of Nursing and Health Care, Centre for Professional Studies, Bodø Regional University, Norway.


In this article, the vitality of premature infants will be described and discussed. Vitality was one of the main factors in a grounded theory study in which the aim was to generate knowledge concerning the ethical decision-making processes with which nurses and physicians are faced in a neonatal unit. Which assessments underlie decisions about whether to start, continue or stop medical treatment of very sick premature babies? A descriptive study design, including 120 hours of field observations and 22 qualitative in-depth interviews with doctors and nurses, was chosen. Strauss and Glaser's comparative method was used to analyse the field observations and interviews. The findings indicate that life-and-death decisions are somewhat ambivalent; experience does not always make them easier. In situations of ambiguity, decisions also seem to be based upon the vitality of the babies concerned.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center