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Cutting the cord: Can society over-invest in extremely premature and critically impaired neonates?
journal contributionposted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by Neera BhatiaNeera Bhatia
This article provides a critical examination of the allocation of scarce public health care funds in relation to extremely premature and sick neonates. Decisions to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment from neonates born extremely premature are generally informed by arbitrary and often subjective considerations of those involved in their care – namely parents and medical practitioners. This article argues for a sharp and immediate focus in decisions to treat such neonates based on the allocation of limited health care resources. Accordingly, decisions to save and preserve the lives of imperilled neonates should not be limited to the immediate financial costs of medical treatment. More explicitly there should be a full appreciation of the cost of disability to the family, requirements for long-term care, and the benefits and associated costs of life, not only to the patient, but also to society.