Life and death decisions for micro prems

Over half of babies born at 23 weeks will have a disability, with 17% of 23 weekers having a severe disability. This was the reality faced by Melissa and her partner when they found out their daughter Ruby was on her way – four months early.

Babies born at this age (extreme prematurity is defined at 24 weeks or less) face an uphill battle to survive. And if they do, parents and staff often have to face what life looks like with a disability. But is a life in pain better than no life at all?

Neonatal nurses are on the front line watching the outcomes for these babies, and a new paper has looked at how these nurses perceive the quality of life judgements made by parents and other medical staff. And as hospital guidelines on when to withdraw treatment across the country vary, questions are being raised as to whether a national framework is appropriate.


Melissa – Mother of Ruby
Dr Janet Green – Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health, UTS
Dr Neera Bhatia – School of Law, Deakin University

Further Links:
Lil Aussie Prems

Image: Sarah Hopkins on Flickr.

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