Azara Blog: Vastly premature babies should not be given intensive care

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Date published: 2006/11/16

The BBC says:

Babies born at or before 22 weeks should not be resuscitated or given intensive care, a report says.

The recommendation is being put forward by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, which considers ethical questions raised by advances in medical research.

For those born after 23 weeks, the recommendation is that doctors should review the situation with the parents and take their wishes into account.

But doctors warned no two babies born at 22 or 23 weeks would be the same.

The report has been released after two years of research.

It also gives guidance on how parents should resolve arguments with doctors over the fate of their babies.

The report comes against a backdrop of medical advances which have been able to sustain the lives of very premature babies.

However, research shows that many of these babies do not live very long, or go on to develop severe disability.

Part of the problem is that despite advances in modern medicine, it is not always obvious to doctors which babies will survive and thrive.
Bliss, the premature baby charity, is campaigning for one-to-one neonatal intensive care, and for decisions to made based on clinical reasoning, and not financial constraints.

A sensible report. The UK cannot even fund a decent education for most of its children, why are we throwing money away on these babies, with the main result being to let them suffer even longer than would otherwise be the case. And Bliss, like all special interest pressure groups, is taking the piss. All decisions need to be partly based on financial constraints, otherwise you are just asking for a 100% tax rate (and even that would not raise enough money to pay for everything that somebody somewhere deemed to be desirable). Unfortunately in today's media-driven world, where weepy parents can be brought out in front of the television cameras, it is difficult for any sensible discussion to be had.

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