Death or Disability? The 'Carmentis Machine' and decision-making for critically ill children

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 3/1/2013
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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In ancient Rome parents would consult the priestess Carmentis shortly after birth to obtain prophecies of the future of their newborn infant. Today, parents and doctors of critically ill children consult a different oracle. Neuroimaging provides a vision of the child's future, particularly of the nature and severity of any disability. Based on the results of brain scans and other tests doctors and parents face heart-breaking decisions about whether or not to continue intensive treatment or to allow the child to die. Paediatrician and ethicist Dominic Wilkinson looks at the profound and contentious ethical issues facing those who work in intensive care caring for critically ill children and infants. When should infants or children be allowed to die? How accurate are predictions of future quality of life? How much say should parents have in these decisions? How should they deal with uncertainty about the future? He combines philosophy, medicine and science to shed light on current and future dilemmas.

Author Biography

Dominic Wilkinson is Associate Professor of Neonatal Medicine and Bioethics at the University of Adelaide, and a senior research associate of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. He has worked as a doctor in neonatal, paediatric and adult intensive care, and is currently consultant neonatologist at the Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide. He has a DPhil in medical ethics from the University of Oxford, and has written a large number of academic articles relating to ethical issues in intensive care.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1: The temple of Carmentis 30AD
Prologue 2: The Carmentis Machine: 2030 AD
Introduction: Neuroethics and intensive care
Destiny, disability, and death
Best interests and the Carmentis machine
Starting again
Competing interests
Sources of Uncertainty--prognostic research
Managing uncertainty
Interests and uncertainty
The Threshold framework
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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