What Really Determines the Guidelines for Management of the Extremely Premature Infant

1 November 2012

What Really Determines the Guidelines for Management of the Extremely Premature Infant - Are They Reasons or Rationalisations?

Dr. Geoffrey Miller

Authoritative bodies containing bioethicists, health professionals, and philosophers, from most parts of the modern industrialised world have issued guidelines on the management of the extremely premature infant with a gestational age of less than 25 weeks. Based on the premise that the mortality is so high, the morbidity so poor, and the burden of maximal intensive care so great, active treatment ought to be optional. This decision would be determined by informed parents in conjunction with knowledgeable physicians. However, on analysis of survival, quality of outcome, the results of active resuscitation, and the application of principles of both distributive and personal justice the ethical reasoning behind this becomes flawed as the facts that determine the premises are incorrect or self-fulfilling. Speculation on why this might occur will be presented in addition to a brief overview of the moral psychology of making moral judgments.

About the Speaker

Dr.Miller is Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at Yale University, Clinical Director of Yale Pediatric Neurology and the Co-Director of the Yale Pediatric Neuromuscular clinic. His recent academic interests are in Pediatric Bioethics and Pediatric Neuro-ethics. His publications include the books "Extreme Prematurity Practices, Bioethics and the Law" and "Pediatric Bioethics". He has presented on these topics at several international venues and he is a member of the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics and the Yale Program for Biomedical Ethics.

Presented by: The Centre for Health Governance, Law and Ethics at Sydney Law School and The Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (VELiM) at Sydney Medical School

Time: 12pm

Location: Norman Gregg Lecture Theatre, Edward Ford Building A27, University of Sydney

Cost: Free, registration via email essential

Contact: Rowena Forsyth

Phone: 02 9036 3426

Email: 46061b04012c4d0407081d113e5c161a311600520e690007016c3b00