Parental refusal of medical treatment for a newborn

Theor Med Bioeth. 2007;28(5):427-41. doi: 10.1007/s11017-007-9046-9.


When there is a conflict between parents and the physician over appropriate care due to an infant whose decision prevails? What standard, if any, should guide such decisions?This article traces the varying standards articulated over the past three decades from the proposal in Duff and Campbell's 1973 essay that these decisions are best left to the parents to the Baby Doe Regs of the 1980s which required every life that could be salvaged be continued. We conclude with support for the policy articulated in the 2007 guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics on non-intervention or withdrawal of intensive care for high-risk newborns.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making / ethics
  • Hospitals, Community
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn*
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal / ethics
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Life Support Care / ethics
  • Life Support Care / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Moral Obligations*
  • Neonatology / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Parental Consent
  • Parents*
  • Persistent Vegetative State / therapy*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Resuscitation
  • Texas
  • Treatment Refusal / ethics
  • Treatment Refusal / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Uncertainty
  • United States
  • Withholding Treatment / ethics
  • Withholding Treatment / legislation & jurisprudence