Ethical challenges of decision making with pregnant patients who have schizophrenia

ArticleinAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 187(3):696-702 · October 2002with22 Reads
Impact Factor: 4.70 · DOI: 10.1067/mob.2002.125767 · Source: PubMed

    Abstract

    Because there is a dearth of literature, we developed an ethical framework to guide decision making about the management of pregnancy of patients with schizophrenia.
    We review pertinent literature on schizophrenia and pregnancy, including information on maternal and fetal risks and outcomes, and relate this information to ethical concepts.
    The ethical framework has five components: the concept of chronically and variably impaired autonomy, assisted decision making, surrogate decision making, strategies for dealing with the physician's feelings in response to these patients, and the concept of the fetus as a patient. We apply this ethical framework to clinical challenges of decision making during pregnancy with this patient population.
    The preventive ethics strategies of assisted and surrogate decision making can be used to prevent ethical conflicts in decision making about the management of pregnancy of patients with schizophrenia. These preventive ethics strategies should contribute significantly to reducing the vulnerability of these patients and therefore to enhancing their autonomy in the physician-patient relationship.