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Disputes Over Moral Standards Guiding Treatments for Imperiled Infants

Authors
Journal
Seminars in Perinatology
0146-0005
Publisher
Elsevier - WB Saunders
Publication Date
Volume
33
Issue
6
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1053/j.semperi.2009.07.004
Keywords
  • Baby Doe
  • Best Interests Standard
  • Capta
  • Ethics
  • Incompetent
  • Quality Of Life
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Medicine

Abstract

Two incompatible policies govern medical decision-making for infants aged < 1 year in the United States. One is the Best Interests Standard, which is the older policy, and the other is the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act amendments widely known as the “Baby Doe” rules. The debate over which policy to adopt, however, is more far-reaching than treatment for one group in one country as it involves how to rank important medical values when they come into conflict. These are the values of prolonging biological life and of providing comfort and relief from pain and suffering for imperiled and incompetent persons. For reasons of justice and compassion, the Best Interests Standard is superior to Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act's Baby Doe Rules for guiding decision for infants and others lacking decision-making capacity.

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