The 6th Pediatric Bioethics Conference of Seattle Children’s on ethical issues in prenatal and neonatal care in July 2010

Tiny Babies, Large Questions: Ethical Issues in Prenatal and Neonatal Care

 Sixth Annual Pediatric Bioethics Conference Friday and Saturday, July 23, 24, 2010

 Bell Harbor International Conference Center, Seattle, Washington

Dr. Norman Fost, who coauthored the Ashley paper with Dr. Diekema in AJOB this April, will be one of the speakers as usual. His presentation is titled, “Whatever Happened to Baby Doe? The Transformation from Under-treatment to Over-treatment.”

2 thoughts on “The 6th Pediatric Bioethics Conference of Seattle Children’s on ethical issues in prenatal and neonatal care in July 2010

  1. The Diekema and Botkin piece is truly horrendous, morally and otherwise. I concur with the conclusion of G. Dr. Kevin Donovan, in a letter to the journal Pediatrics, discussing the Diekema and Botkin article, and published here (footnote omitted):

    In a time when protocols for euthanasia of infants are published and promoted in other countries, and sometimes followed without the expressed permission of parents, this is a controversial and morally problematic stance to take. If published as a personal viewpoint, it would have been provocative. When published as an official statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is more than ill-considered; it is a disappointing failure to stand as advocates for the most vulnerable of children.

    For example, the following passage, from the article, could have been written jointly had an unlikely partnership developed between George Orwell and Josef Mengele:

    The focus of this clinical report is children who depend on fluids and nutrition delivered through medical devices for their survival. [new para] Given this focus, we will use the term “medically provided nutrition” rather than “food” and “withholding medically provided nutrition” rather than “starvation.” The term “food” elicits images of eating, chewing, tasting, and swallowing along with the pleasures and social connotations that accompany those actions, failing to distinguish these from the technical process of delivering hydration and nutrition through medical devices. Receiving fluids and nutrition through a tube or intravenous catheter is not the same as eating a meal. Likewise, the term “starvation” fails to accurately characterize the experience of patients for whom medically provided fluids and nutrition are withheld, implying an element of suffering that is rarely present when medically provided nutrition is withdrawn.

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