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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

On-line version ISSN 1678-4561Print version ISSN 1413-8123


RIBEIRO, Carlos Dimas Martins  and  REGO, Sergio. Clinical bioethics: contributions to decision-making in neonatal intensive care units. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2008, vol.13, suppl.2, pp.2239-2246. ISSN 1678-4561.

This article presents a reflection about decision-making in Neonatal Intensive Care Units based on the principle of distributive justice and considering the theoretical approaches of the Bioethics of Protection, formulated by Schramm and Kottow, and the Theory of Capabilities developed by Nussbaum and Sen. Within the concept of justice in the health area adopted in this study, we characterize the essential needs of the citizens that must be satisfied by the State. Then we discuss the question of who should be benefited in the neonatal intensive care units- and in which way - given the scarce public resources available, considering three groups of newborn that in general represent the demand for intensive care services in these units. We conclude that, the better the clinical information available, the more it is likely that a better and more qualified ethical choice can be taken. Further studies will be necessary for the construction of reasonable evidence, prognosis included, so that the involved families can be provided with even more adequate information and, most importantly, for allowing the parents of the child to take part in the clinical decisions.

Keywords : Bioethics of protection; Theory of capabilities; Justice in health; Clinical bioethics; Neonatal ICU.

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