Document Detail

The baby MB case: medical decision making in the context of uncertain infant suffering.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17761825     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The recent MB case involved a dispute between an infant's parents and his medical team about the appropriateness of continued life support. The dispute reflected uncertainty about two key factors that inform medical decision making for seriously ill infants: both the amount of pain MB experiences and the extent of his cognitive capacities are uncertain. Uncertainty of this order makes decision making in accordance with the best-interests principle very problematic. This article addresses two of the problems that cases such as that of MB pose for those charged with making medical decisions for infants. First, the question of the moral significance of the interest in avoiding pain is considered. It is claimed that this interest can be outweighed by higher-order interests such as those related to autonomy but that where such higher-order interests do not exist, the interest in avoiding pain should be prioritised. Second, the question of how to proceed in cases in which the level of pain or the extent of an infant's higher-order interests cannot be decisively established is considered. It is suggested that when genuine uncertainty over the interests of an infant exists, parental views about treatment should prevail.
Monique Jonas
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Case Reports; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of medical ethics     Volume:  33     ISSN:  0306-6800     ISO Abbreviation:  J Med Ethics     Publication Date:  2007 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-08-31     Completed Date:  2008-02-25     Revised Date:  2013-06-06    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7513619     Medline TA:  J Med Ethics     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  541-4     Citation Subset:  E; IM    
Centre for Professional Ethics, Keele Hall, Keele University, Staffordshire ST5 5BG, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Attitude of Health Personnel
Decision Making / ethics*
Dissent and Disputes
Life Support Care / ethics*,  instrumentation
Medical Futility / ethics*
Muscular Atrophy, Spinal / therapy*
Pain Management
Parents / psychology*
Personal Autonomy
Terminal Care / ethics*,  organization & administration

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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