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Palliative care in the fetus and newborn


The changing environment in neonatology and perinatology has led to the examination of issues surrounding palliative care. Newborn palliative care should be considered in three general areas: (1) Neonates at the limits of viability. As advances in technology and outcomes become available, it is the responsibility of the health-care community and society to reach a consensus regarding the limits of viability. (2) Neonates with lethal congenital anomalies. When appropriate, and diagnosis and prognosis are certain, why should a family be deprived the opportunity to choose palliative care for the unborn child? (3) Neonates not responsive to aggressive medical management where continuing therapy may prolong suffering and postpone death. The question ‘Are you doing for the neonate or to the neonate?’ should be asked. These complex issues, along with best interest issues, site, mode and timing of delivery, and the development of palliative care are the subject of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to J Bhatia.

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Bhatia, J. Palliative care in the fetus and newborn. J Perinatol 26, S24–S26 (2006).

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  • neonate
  • death
  • lethal anomalies
  • prognosis

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