Baby at Risk: The Uncertain Legacies of Medical Miracles for Babies, Families, and Society

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Capital Books, 2006 - Health & Fitness - 161 pages
Baby at Risk explores the growing phenomenon of "miracle" births and infants born with major medical problems that threaten or impair their health for life. The book examines the new assisted-reproduction technologies that are producing their share of miracle babies---but also a burgeoning population of imperiled newborns. Then there are the neonatal intensive care rescues that keep extremely premature and critically ill babies alive---some to live healthy lives, but others to face a bleak lifetime during which their families must care for them. Baby at Risk asks some very hard questions: whether some high-tech rescues serve the best interests of babies, their families, and the wider social good---or are they just satisfying the contemporary and ever-increasing Western passion for using expensive technologies? And, who are the key people who should be making decisions about imperiled newborns? Like the Terry Schiavo debate, these issues affect not only the patients, their families, and health workers, but also the government, media, and society at large. Through extensive interviews with parents and medical and nursing staff, and an exploration of ethical principles that guide deliberations about medical decisions, Baby at Risk examines the dilemmas that at-risk babies raise, considers the responses of those who care for and about babies, and proposes strategies for more effective and balanced decision-making in the uncertain world of imperiled newborns.
 

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Contents

The NICU Scene
1
Born at Risk
5
Birth of the NICU
13
Miracle Mythology
21
Comfort Care
31
Parents Matter
39
Quality of Life Matters
51
Coping with comple
59
Experimenting with Babies
105
Desirable Outcomes
111
Life in the NICU
117
Death in the NICU
125
Immense Suffering
135
Sharing Responsibility
147
Bibliography
151
About the Author
155

Advance Directives
75
Legislating Lives
81
Money Matters
99

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About the author (2006)

Ruth Levy Guyer is a respected science writer, bioethics professor at Haverford College, and a regular commentator on National Public Radio's weekend edition of All Things Considered. She has taught and written about birth, pregnancy, new reproductive technologies, cloning, genetic engineering, and many other related medical, bioethical, and social justice issues involving babies and their families. Her articles and reviews have been published in a variety of publications, including Science Magazine, the American Journal of Public Health, the American Journal of Bioethics, The Washington Post, Wilson Quarterly, and the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Ruth lives with her husband in Bethesda, Maryland. They have two grown daughters.

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