In the best interests of

Hastings Cent Rep. 1988 Dec;18(6):37-40.


KIE: Two commentaries examine the validity of the concept of "best interests of the infant" as the moral criterion upon which to base an ethically sound decision concerning medical care. Four opposing lines of argument, that infants have no interests in continued life, that infants' interests are unknowable, that an interests appeal can yield counterintuitive results, and that others' interests also deserve consideration are presented by Brody to show the complexity and ambiguity of treatment decisions. Bartholome argues that, while the concept of best interests does not function well as an objective criterion for analysis of medical ethical problems, it has value as a device that locates what is at stake in a problem and focuses the decision making process.

MeSH terms

  • Congenital, Hereditary, and Neonatal Diseases and Abnormalities*
  • Decision Making*
  • Ethical Analysis*
  • Ethics*
  • Euthanasia, Passive*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn*
  • Life Support Care
  • Moral Obligations
  • Parents
  • Physicians
  • Quality of Life
  • Reference Standards*
  • Self Concept
  • Social Responsibility