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Ethics of Neonatal Palliative Care 

Ethics of Neonatal Palliative Care
Chapter:
Ethics of Neonatal Palliative Care
Author(s):

Robert C. Macauley

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199313945.003.0012
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date: 19 August 2019

Neonatal palliative care is unique by virtue of some of the treatment methods only utilized in this age group and also the increasingly recognized uncertainty of prognosis. Often neonates will achieve the ability to breathe independently before their prognosis becomes clear, creating a “window of opportunity” where forgoing certain forms of medical treatment is temporarily an option. After that point the only treatment the patient may be dependent on is medically administered nutrition and hydration, which takes on additional ethical complexity because of the developmental stage of the neonate. There may be situations where parental requests for treatment are not honored—or their refusals not respected—based on the balance of benefits and burdens.

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