Babies born at 23 weeks should not be resuscitated, says NHS chief

Premature Baby Photograph: Flickr ceejayoz

Flickr: ceejayoz

Dr Daphne Austin, who advises local authorities on how to spend their budgets, claims that the £10 million used on babies born at 23 weeks could be better used. Only nine out of 100 babies born at 23 weeks will survive, and of that number most are disabled.

Making her comments in a BBC2 documentary, 23 Week Babies: The Price of Life, she argues that keeping such small babies alive is only ‘prolonging their agony’ and that treatments have very little benefit.  ‘I would prefer to free up that money to spend on providing support to people who have much more lifelong chronic conditions.’

She added: ‘There’s a lot of emphasis on the parents’ views and what they want. But somewhere in there, there needs to be an advocate for the baby.

UK guidelines fore pre-term babies state that medics should not attempt to resuscitate babies born before 22 weeks, as they are too under developed. Babies born between 22 and 25 weeks should be given intensive care as routine.


BBC News: Premature babies battle for survival at ‘edge of life’ 07 Mar 2011



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