An Ethical Dilemma For Premature Infants Essay

An Ethical Dilemma For Premature Infants Essay

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Whether or not there is a gestational age at which extreme measures should not be provided for premature infants continues to be an ethical issue today. As nurses and members of the health care team provide information to families about the risks and benefits of extreme life support measures, they must keep in mind the four basic principles of ethics: autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice. With supporting evidence provided for both sides, this paper is an attempt to prove why there should not be a gestational age alone, rather many other factors should play a role in the decision making of the viability of a preterm infant.
Keywords: gestational age, extreme measures,

The Ethical Dilemma of Providing Extreme Measures to Infants Born Before a Certain Gestational Age
When a premature infant is born before viability, that is, before the vital organs of the body are able to sustain life without support, nurses, along with other members of the health care team, have a job of educating the family on their options (Powell et al., 2012). With advancements in neonatal care, medical teams have been able to save infants that once would have been too young to survive (Kuschel & Kent, 2011). The family is given the option to either have extreme measures provided in the attempt to save their infants life, or not have extreme measures provided, and letting nature take its course. Health care providers are not always in agreeance when making the decision to perform extreme measures on a premature infant, which makes it even more difficult for families (Kuschel & Kent, 2011). Some infants may go on living life without any problems, while others are left with severe morbidities that have a profound impact on the family and society...

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...ple of justice requires care providers to make treatment decisions based on the best interest of the infant without consideration of race, ethnicity, or the ability of the family to pay” (Powell et al., 2012). Some may ask the question, are you providing justice to an infant who may grow up to have severe disabilities and not be able to enjoy life? Dr. Saroj Saigal performed a study to see just how the quality of life of premature infants at the ages of 12 to 16 compared to teenagers in the same age group who were not premature at birth (Groopman, 2011). His study revealed that even though some of these kids had trouble with seeing, hearing, and speaking, they “considered their quality of lives quite high” (Groopman, 2011). However, the fact that some premature infants grow up bedridden and unaware of their surroundings, make this whole argument even more difficult.

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