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May 2018

Balancing Parental Needs for Physicians’ Technical Help With Physicians’ Legal Protection

Author Affiliations
  • 1Neonatal-Perinatal Fellowship Program, Westchester Medical Center, New York Medical College, Valhalla
  • 2The Regional Neonatal Center of Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, Westchester Medical Center, New York Medical College, Valhalla
  • 3Division of Newborn Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, New York Medical College, Valhalla
JAMA Pediatr. 2018;172(5):416-418. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.0077

It is a confusing world. Technology advances daily, new knowledge gets disseminated instantly, and somehow everyone must make sense of it all. But can we, without expert guidance?

While worldly things evolve rapidly, parenting emotions remain constant. Neonatal intensive care hospitalization is a stressful experience for medically naive parents who serve as a proxy for their infants and must make important decisions with lifelong consequences on their behalf. Physicians have a unique and challenging role in this decision-making process. By virtue of their technical expertise, knowledge base, and professional duty, physicians also have a critical role in the lives of these infants. In the article by Weiss et al1 in this issue of JAMA Pediatrics, the authors question whether physicians and parents understand each other’s priorities during the process of medical decision making.