Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Regulation of treatment of infants at the edge of viability in Italy: the role of the medical profession?
  1. Maria Serenella Pignotti1,
  2. Sofia Moratti2
  1. 1Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Anna Meyer Children's Hospital, University of Florence, Italy
  2. 2Research Group ‘Regulation of Medical Behaviour’, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Maria Serenella Pignotti, NICU, Anna Meyer Children's Hospital, University of Florence, Viale Pieraccini 24, 50100 Florence, Italy; m.pignotti{at}


In the last few years there has been intense debate in Italy on administration of life-prolonging treatment to premature babies at the edge of viability. In 2006, a group of experts based in Florence drafted recommendations known as Carta di Firenze (CdF) for responsible use of intensive care for premature infants between 22 and 25 weeks of gestational age (GA). The CdF was later endorsed by several medicoprofessional associations, but was followed by recommendations by the Ministry of Health mandating resuscitation for all premature babies regardless of GA and parental consent. Recent statements from medicoprofessional bodies seem to show that the ‘always resuscitate rule’ is not supported by many Italian doctors. We argue that ethically sensitive issues in medicine should be regulated with, and not against, the medical profession and its representative bodies.

  • Minors/parental consent
  • newborns and minors
  • interests of woman/fetus/father
  • general
  • allowing minors to die

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Other content recommended for you