Ase scenario 3.Extremely premature babies,quality of life, sanctity of life.
A baby born prematurely at 23 weeks gestation is being kept in intensive care.However she is not thriving and scans suggest she has profound brain damage.She cannot breathe unassisted and the parents believe she is suffering and also that the quality of life she can expect will be very poor and further treatment is harmful.The parents believe that her survival should be placed in the hands of God and ask that the ventilator should be switched off.What should the clinicians do?Apply the four major ethical considerations systematically.What are the major ethical dilemmas?
1.Consequences: what are the consequences any given course action? Consider both benefits and harms.
2.Duties and Obligations: what are the duties of the clinician?Is this case of conflict of duties?To whom does the clinician owe these duties?If so how best can this dilemma be resolved?
3.Consider the categorical imperatives.Is this case of respect for autonomy and informed consent?If so are there sufficient grounds to ignore her wishes?
4.Application of principles.How might the four key ethical principles of ethical clinical practice be applied If necessary remind yourself of these principles: