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Withholding and withdrawing of life sustaining treatment in the newborn
  1. J Tripp,
  2. D McGregor
  1. Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8BX, Devon, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    J Tripp
    Child Health, Peninsula Medical School, Church Lane Heavitree, Exeter EX2 5SQ, UK; jhtripp{at}


The rapid progress of medical technology has resulted in more opportunities to maintain the life of infants in serious and potentially life threatening situations. Whether to treat such infants is a common dilemma. The burden of these difficult decisions rests almost equally on distraught parents and relatives and on the professional staff of neonatal units. Sometimes, either parents or care teams choose to seek a decision from the courts. Ways of reaching the best possible and most inclusive consensus decisions are examined in this review.

  • ethics
  • treatment withdrawal

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  • Competing interests: none declared

  • Table 1 reproduced with kind permission from JAMA1992;:–6. Copyright© 1992. American Medical Association. All rights reserved.