Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media
by John D. Lantos, 183 pp, $22.50 ISBN 08018-6762-2, Baltimore, Md, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.
This compelling book is centered on a hypothetical but realistic case of an extremely premature infant, born at the cusp of viability, who fails to respond to initial resuscitation efforts in the delivery room, only to improve spontaneously after these measures have been discontinued. His subsequent stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is characterized by numerous complications and a protracted course ultimately associated with adverse long-term neurodevelopmental sequelae. Two years after his discharge home, the parents sue the hospital and neonatologist alleging that stopping the resuscitation was negligent. Dr Lantos, himself a protagonist in the book, serves as an expert witness for the defense and uses this perspective and his deposition as a framework to discuss a broad variety of ethical and medical issues that attend the care of catastrophically ill neonates in intensive care. Often, Lantos shares vignettes derived from his years in pediatric training, which included time in the NICU, and, importantly, his insights as a bioethicist.
Neonatal Intensive CareThe Lazarus Case: Life and Death Issues in Neonatal Intensive Care. JAMA. 2002;287(18):2432. doi:10.1001/jama.287.18.2432-JBK0508-2-1