Heuser and colleagues' survey of obstetricians provides a valuable insight into the current management of severe fetal anomalies in the United States. Their survey reveals two striking features - that counselling for these anomalies is far from neutral, and that there is significant variability between clinicians in their approach to management. In this commentary I outline the reasons to be concerned about both of these. Directiveness in counselling arguably represents a form of paternalism, and the evident variability in practice is likely the result of physician personal values. However, Heuser's survey may, by shining a light on practice, provide an important step towards a more consistent approach.
- Newborns and minors
- withdrawal/withholding treatment
- best interests
- intensive care
- clinical ethics
- allowing minors to die
- donation/procurement of organs/tissues
- prolongation of life and euthanasia
- quality/value of life/personhood
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Funding This work was supported by an early career fellowship from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council .
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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