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May 3, 2000

Treatment Decisions for Seriously Ill Newborns

Author Affiliations

Phil B.FontanarosaMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorStephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;283(17):2237-2238. doi:10.1001/jama.283.17.2235

To the Editor: In his editorial1 regarding treatment decisions for seriously ill newborns, Dr Fost distorts our prior study2 by claiming that "a major medical center reported that standard treatment was withheld from more than half of a cohort of infants referred with spina bifida." Our process was undertaken only after several mothers of older children told us that they wished that someone had taken the time to discuss with them the long-term implications of performing surgery on their newborns with spina bifida. The common theme was that if they had been better informed, they would never have agreed to the surgery. We thus set up a program to inform parents, to the best of our ability, of the outlooks for their infants both with and without surgery.

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