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Treatment Decisions for Babies with Trisomy 13 and 18

Journal title
HEC forum : an interdisciplinary journal on hospitals' ethical and legal issues
Publication year
Pallotto, I.; Lantos, J. D.

Many babies with trisomy 13 and 18 die in the first year of life. Survivors all have severe cognitive impairment. There has been a debate among both professionals and parents about whether it is appropriate to provide life-sustaining interventions to babies with these serious conditions. On one side of the debate are those who argue that there is no point in providing invasive, painful, and expensive procedures when the only outcomes are either early death or survival with severe cognitive impairment. Others suggest that, although mortality is high and cognitive impairment universal, babies with these conditions have an acceptable quality of life. In this paper, we will discuss both points of view. We will review the ways in which these conditions are portrayed in pediatrics textbooks and on social media sites that offer support to parents. We will then suggest an appropriate way to deal with clinical decisions for babies with these trisomies.

Research abstracts