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Semin Perinatol. 2009 Dec;33(6):354-63. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2009.07.002.

The ethics of newborn resuscitation.

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Department of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


It is widely believed in neonatology and obstetrics that there are situations in which it is inappropriate to attempt newborn resuscitation, and other times when newborn resuscitation is obligatory despite parental refusal. In each case, an ethical justification for the decision needs to be identified. This essay is intended to provide guidance in deciding when resuscitation should be attempted, and in identifying ethical considerations that should be taken into account. It specifically addresses the issue of extreme prematurity, including an analysis of current recommendations, the data, relevant rights of patient and parents, and a discussion of the relative merits of withholding resuscitation vs providing resuscitation and possibly withdrawing intensive care later. In addition to extreme prematurity, the considerations presented are also relevant to a wider spectrum of newborn problems, including Trisomy 13, Trisomy 18, and severe congenital anomalies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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