Worthy of Life by Gregory K. Laughlin

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Worthy of Life

Gregory K. Laughlin on the Wrong Choices Given to Parents of Disabled Children

On August 4, 2013, the New York Times published an article by Dr. April R. Dworetz titled "End of Life, at Birth." Dr. Dworetz is an assistant professor of pediatrics, specializing in neonatology, at Emory University. She used the account of a girl who was born "at 23 weeks' gestation and weighed a little over a pound" to address the larger issue of when to resuscitate and treat infants born prematurely, particularly when, as in the case of the girl she called "Miracle," the prognosis for survival is "bleak" and the child is likely to be disabled if she survives.

Miracle's parents differed on how aggressively the doctors should pursue treatment. Her mother wanted them to try to save Miracle despite the risks. Her father, witnessing all the painful things done to Miracle in the effort to save her, angrily asked Dr. Dworetz, "Why do you do this? Why do you keep these babies alive?"

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