Residents in the general surgery program at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., participate in monthly “pizza grand rounds,” in which they discuss ethics-fraught situations they encounter. Some of the situations are the subjects of papers published in Surgery. Here are summaries of a few of those published situations. The papers intentionally do not mention the actions ultimately taken, so that the attention remains on the principles and questions involved.
Explore this issue:November 2011
Newborn in Critical Condition
The situation: An infant girl is born to a 17-year-old mother at 25 weeks by C-section. An echocardiogram finds patent ductus arteriosus, a condition in which the two major arteries connected to the heart remain connected to each other after birth, leading to abnormal blood flow. A head ultrasonogram finds severe hemorrhaging in the brain. The NICU team has multiple discussions with the parents about the infant’s strong likelihood of severe physical and mental developmental delay and the possibility that she might die. The parents say they want everything possible done to keep the infant alive. (Surgery. 2009;146:122-125.)