References

Mercurio MR. The ethics of newborn resuscitation. Seminars in Perinatology. 2009; 33:354-363 https://doi.org/10.1053/j.semperi.2009.07.002

Puia-Dumitrescu M, Younge N, Benjamin DK, Lawson K, Hume C, Hill K, Mengistu J, Wilson A, Zimmerman KO, Ahmad K, Greenberg RG. Medications and in-hospital outcomes in infants born at 22–24 weeks of gestation. Journal of Perinatology. 2020; 40:781-789 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41372-020-0614-4

Proctor RN. Racial Hygiene: medicine under the Nazis.Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press; 1988

Singer P. Practical Ethics.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1979

Sklansky M. Neonatal euthanasia: moral considerations and criminal liability. Journal of Medical Ethics. 2001; 27:5-11

Vogelstein E. Decision-making at the border of viability: determining the best interests of extremely preterm infants. Journal of Medical Ethics. 2020; 0:1-7 https://doi.org/10.1136/medethics-2019-105816

Wilkinson D, Marlow N, Hayden D, Mactier H. Recommendations in the face of uncertainty: should extremely preterm infants receive chest compressions and/or epinephrine in the delivery room?. Archives of Disease in Childhood Fetal and Neonatal Edition. 2020; 105:F240-F241 https://doi.org/10.1136/fetalneonatal-2019-318552

Viability of newborns

02 August 2020
2 min read
Volume 28 · Issue 8

Abstract

George F Winter weighs up the ethics surrounding newborn resuscitation at 22-weeks' gestational age

Should we have on-call philosophers in midwifery? Philippa Foot (1920–2010) suggested that just as we summon a plumber to fix a leaking tap, a ‘jobbing philosopher’ could be called when ethical issues show signs of getting out of hand (Foot, 1986).

But philosophers think differently about many things. For example, Professor Peter Singer's views may be inferred from the title of the fourth chapter of his book ‘Practical ethics’ (Singer, 1979) – ‘What's wrong with killing?’ – the last sentence of which contends that ‘the life of a being that has no conscious experiences is of no intrinsic value.’ Arguably, this echoes the views expressed in the book ‘Release and Destruction of Lives Not Worth Living’ published in 1920 by Alfred Hoche and Rudolf Binding – professors of medicine and law, respectively – who asserted that the right to live ‘must be earned and justified, not dogmatically assumed’ (Proctor, 1988).

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