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Neonatal Med > Volume 24(2); 2017 > Article
Neonatal Medicine 2017;24(2):77-82.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5385/nm.2017.24.2.77    Published online May 31, 2017.
Investigation of Neonatal Staff Members' Attitudes toward End-of-Life Decision Making about Dying Newborns.
Jin Hyeok Lee, Sun Young Cho, Kyoung Ah Kwon, Myo Jing Kim
Department of Pediatrics, Dong-A University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea. myojing@dau.ac.kr
Abstract
PURPOSE
The objective of this study was to investigate physicians' attitudes toward ethical end-of-life decision making about dying newborns.
METHODS
Between October and December 2015, we surveyed 185 neonatal staff members working at 6 neonatal intensive care units to investigate their attitudes toward ethical end-of-life decision making about dying newborns.
RESULTS
The respondents generally agreed with using sedatives/analgesics to suppress pain despite the risk of fatality (80%), continuing current treatment without using other treatment methods (56.2%), and withholding emergency treatment in the form of cardiac arrest resuscitation (48.1%). In contrast, most respondents disagreed with administering drugs for the purpose of ending life, withholding neonatal intensive care, and withholding mechanical ventilation. Although the respondents believed that it is necessary to suggest that the parents of dying neonates sign do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders (62.7%), most of them found it difficult to talk to parents/families about DNR orders (90.8%), or wanted to refrain from obtaining families' consent in person (84.9%).
CONCLUSION
Korean neonatal staff members believed that withholding or withdrawal of treatment is necessary when making ethical decisions about dying neonates; however, they preferred to use conservative, rather than active interventions.
Key Words: End-of-life care, Ethics, Neonatal intensive care units, Newborns
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