Most infants stay in their mothers' wombs for around 38 to 41 weeks before they join our world of lights, sounds and smells. Laura and John, It is indeed a very compelling argument that we should strive to save a premature baby because there is hope, even though it is very bleak indeed.
Hi Katherine, thanks for the comments. The only thing doctors or carers can do is to provide as much help as possible to the parents before a decision is ultimately taken.
I think parents of very pre-term infants are reluctant ever to deny treatment not only because they fear losing their beloved child, but also because they believe withholding treatment is the same as killing their child. Some infants however, defy Nature and relinquish the optimal home that is the uterus before time.
By using a strict set of metrics (based on current health records and genetic profile of an individual) society could determine the cost of medical care versus an individual’s value to society. And doctors, who are usually eager to try out the latest procedures and technologies, rarely touch on that belief, let alone confront it. The strong ones will ultimately survive and live normal lives but those who are born much too prematurely, such as those born at 23 weeks of gestation, face a battle for survival. This would be an effective technique to evaluate many groups of people for their fitness for life, e.g.
There is almost never a discussion of when allowing nature to take its course is more merciful and more humane than tormenting the tiniest of human beings with endless medical interference that has very little hope of producing the desired outcome. Part of parenting is taking responsibility for your child's long-term quality of life when your child cannot.
Doesn't this 91% deserve a better treatment than to be put in a lot amount of pain before ultimately dying? Obviously, I can't answer the question.
We have started to get better at having these discussions with elderly patients, but we are still unwilling to have them with parents of pre-term babies at the extreme edge of viability. After all, we are culturally programmed to do our best to save lives, are we not? There's an interesting thing I didn't mention in the post however that's worth pondering on.

And we tend to stigmatize people who want to discuss these issues as valuing cost savings over human life.
So maybe, medicine should give them an idea of the greatness of the risk that trying to save the premature babies involves rather than going full-force into desperately trying to keep them alive. If a person fails the test, then they would be humanely euthanized, saving millions of dollars for strained budgets. In the UK, nine out of a hundred infants born at 23 weeks of gestation will survive although only one of them will live a fully able-bodied life. Fritz Lenz and Eugene Fischer were instrumental in developing the theory and implementing the practice quite effectively as judged by Nazi standards. What this means is that 91 of every hundred infants born at 23 weeks of gestation in the UK will die in the neonatal intensive care unit, eight others will be plagued for the rest of their lives by handicaps or severe medical conditions while only one will be able to live a normal life.
The brain, which grows by three-fold in the last three months of pregnancy, is able to do so in the best possible environment. When such an explosive and crucial development is carried out outside the optimal conditions provided by the mother-as in the neonatal intensive care unit-however, the development may be hampered. For instance, continuous sensory bombardment may disrupt the infant's normal sleep-wake cycle while the number of medications administered may directly affect the brain, all leading to the possibility of brain injuries [1]. BBC Two's documentary, 23 Week Babies: The Price of Life, portrays Heather, who was born at the very edge of viability and suffered a hemorrhage in the first few weeks of her life. There is obviously nothing else for me in my life, so what is the point of carrying on?" There has long been concern about long-term outcome for very preterm survivors. Typically, those born before 25 weeks of gestation are attributed with poor quality of survival and too expensive treatments. The largest increase in infant survival rates in Victoria, Australia, from 1991 to 1997 has occurred in infants born at 23 weeks of gestation [2].

However, although survival rates have improved, it does not change the fact that, still, only a small fraction of those survivors will ever live a normal life. In many ways, this situation is reminiscent of the dilemma imposed on the families of terminal patients. Prolong their lives by some days or months or allow them to drift away from all the suffering and despair? But you’ve never had a deep sleep before so with all the noise your mums making, you wouldve woken up by now. Your mum rushes to the door thinking you went to the park after school and you’re back, or your dad ready to give her a hug to comfort her. She welcomes them in, then makes them each a cup of tea, 5minutes later your dad walks through the front door. Also taking the policeman sitting in their living room a huge shock Panic sets in both of them, whats happened? He lets out a huge cry, and crouches down sobbing&clutching the photo close to his chest.
Your sister has counselling now because she’s so guilty and hates herself so much she punishes herself. Next time you think of picking up the knife, or fastening the rope or jumping or whatever you do.

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