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ABSTRACT: Much controversy exists today regarding the "salvaging" of high-risk infants. There are many ethical concerns surrounding these children. The advancement of technology has had a profound effect on the treatment of preterm infants or infants with deformities. In this article the authors address selected ethical concerns regarding personhood, autonomy, beneficence, parental authority, quality of life, sanctity of life, and optional, obligatory, and wrong forms of treatment. The article begins with an overview of the history of infanticide as well as the history of neonatal intensive care units. Financial and legal issues are also discussed. In addition, the nurse's role in working with high-risk infants and their families is briefly explored.
Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing 02/1990; 13(1):1-14.