When making decisions involving the resuscitation of a newborn, the ethical principles that guide the decision-making process can be complex. The two primary ethical principles that inform neonatologists’ decisions to resuscitate or not resuscitate a newborn are beneficence and autonomy. The principle of beneficence focuses on the need to act in the best interests of the child, while the principle of autonomy allows the parents or guardians of the child to have the right to make decisions regarding the child’s care. In the case of newborn resuscitation, these two ethical principles must be carefully weighed against one another in order to reach a decision that best reflects the wishes of both the child and the parents or guardians.
The principle of beneficence looks at the needs of the newborn, and this includes the need for prompt medical attention as well as the need to protect the newborn from harm. In the case of resuscitation, this means that neonatologists should consider the risks and benefits of resuscitation before deciding whether or not to proceed. From a beneficence standpoint, the risks of immediate resuscitation must be weighed against the potential benefits, such as the possible improvement of the newborn’s physical health or the opportunity to extend the life of the newborn.
The principle of autonomy, on the other hand, allows the parents or guardians of the newborn to make decisions regarding the care of the child. This principle also respects the wishes of the family and respects the right of the parents or guardians to make decisions that they believe are in the best interests of their child. In the case of resuscitation, parents have the right to choose whether or not to consent to the resuscitation of their newborn.
Ultimately, the ethical principles of beneficence and autonomy must be carefully weighed when making decisions about newborn resuscitation. These two principles should be used to consider the risks and benefits of resuscitation and to respect the wishes of the parents or guardians in the decision-making process. By weighing these two ethical principles against one another, neonatologists can make the best possible decisions regarding the resuscitation of a newborn.