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Ethical Decision In The Nicu Essay

723 words - 3 pages

I once did not realize the ethics of medical care of an infant, let alone one that is ill in the NICU. Baby Dylan was at 23 weeks gestation when mother Jennifer and father Kevin gave birth to him. He seemed like a little human eager to live but even the latest advances in medicine were unable to keep him alive. I believe that the parents ended up making the correct decision for baby Dylan. If he ended up being a “keeper” he still could have had severe neurological and respiratory problems for the rest of his life.
Decision-making not always the easiest thing to do when it comes to the balance of someone’s life in your hands, you just never know what choice is the right one. The doctors and nurses handled themselves very well while being under the pressure of hopeful parents. One thing that affected me was that so many medical professionals were against giving the child a chance to fight in the first place. One physician from Switzerland, Jeremy Irons said that they ...view middle of the document...

In particular one NICU nurse Harrison, was cold when she described the situation to Kevin, almost making it obvious what she thought about keeping the ill child alive. "If things don't turn around," the resident added, "we'll be forced to make a decision to do more or do less. At a certain point, it may not be worth it." Says Harrison (Frey). I feel that she lays out the harsh truth without any compassion for what Kevin and Jenifer are going through. She even goes as far to let him know that she does not have any faith in his child.
There are many ethical decisions concerning a child that is premature. How far should the doctors go before the cons outweigh the pros, where do you draw the line on an innocent life? Should the physician try to use something that is considered invasive for a 23 weeker just to get him breathing? Infants have a delicate balance and babies less than 25 weeks gestational they can have underdeveloped lugs, impaired tissue profusion, fluid loss, elimination alterations, bruising and more. The blood pressure is compromised due to the constant fluid loss through the infant’s thin skin and eyes. Also, using drugs that are considered invasive for a 23 weeker that would otherwise be okay to use if the infant was a 28 or 30 weeks gestation makes it an ethical issue because they all should deserve the same treatment.
Interventions that the doctors did that I agree with are the use of the laryngoscope to open the airway, putting the child on s heating table to reduce hypothermia, isolette to minimize the microorganisms and not wear down the delicate skin, and covering the infant’s eyes so that he does not lose fluid through them. These should be routine practice for premature infants because they are all at risk for hypothermia, fluid loss and infections. Everything that was done by the doctors at Brigham was done within reason. They discussed it openly as a team and all finally agreed together when it was time to inform the parents that there was not much else you can do. It is always going to be a tough call to make when talking about a life.

Works Cited

Frey, Darcy. "'Does Anyone Here Think Tnis Baby Can Live?'" The New York Times. The New York Times, 08 July 1995. Web. 22 Mar. 2014.

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