Ethics in neonatology: a look over Europe

Hercilia Guimarães, Gustavo Rocha, Filipe Almeda, Marta Brites, Johannes B. van Goudoever, Francesca Iacoponi, Carlo Bellieni, Giuseppe Buonocore

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Advances in perinatal medicine have dramatically improved neonatal survival. End-of-life decision making for newborns with adverse prognosis is an ethical challenge, the ethical issues are controversial and little evidence exists on attitudes and values in Europe. to assess the attitudes of the neonatal departments in perinatal clinical practice in the hospitals of European countries. a questionnaire was send to 55 NICUs from 19 European countries. Forty five (81.8%) NICUs were Level III. Religion was Christian in 90.7% and we observed that in north countries the religion is more influent on clinical decisions (p = 0.032). Gestational age was considered with no significant difference for clinical investment. North countries consider birth weight (p = 0.011) and birth weight plus gestational age (p = 0.024) important for clinical investment. In north countries ethical questions should not prevail when the decision is made (p = 0.049) and from an ethical point of view, there is no difference between withdraw a treatment and do not initiate the treatment (p = 0.029). More hospitals in south countries administer any analgesia (p = 0.007). When the resuscitation is not successful 96.2% provide comfort care. Our study reveals that cultural and religious differences influenced ethical attitudes in NICUs of the European countries
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)984-991
JournalJournal of maternal-fetal & neonatal medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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