Flaws in the assessment of the best interests of the newborn
Version of Record online: 22 JAN 2009
©2009 The Author(s)/Journal Compilation ©2009 Foundation Acta Pædiatrica/Acta Pædiatrica
Volume 98, Issue 4, pages 613–617, April 2009
How to Cite
Bellieni, C. V. and Buonocore, G. (2009), Flaws in the assessment of the best interests of the newborn. Acta Paediatrica, 98: 613–617. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2008.01185.x
- Issue online: 6 MAR 2009
- Version of Record online: 22 JAN 2009
- Received 22 May 2008; revised 23 October 2008; accepted 28 November 2008.
- End-of-life decisions;
We examined the literature on ethical decisions regarding neonates, to assess whether personal beliefs and prejudices influence end-of-life decisions taken by caregivers. Studies show that religion and familiarity with disability influence caregivers’ decisions, whereas the influx of already being a parent, age, sex and professional experience is controverse. Caregivers’ attitudes towards end-of-life decisions are also affected by personal concerns about litigation, prejudices and their view of disability. The concept of ‘poor quality of life’ is widely used as a reference in end-of-life decisions, but this can be interpreted differently, leaving room for a wide range of personal viewpoints. In most cases, parents’ opinions are considered important and are sometimes the main determinant in decision making. However, it is unclear whether parents’ decisions are based on their own wishes or on the best interests of the newborn.
Conclusion: In neonatal end-of-life decisions, patients may not receive cures based only on their best interests.