Current antenatal technologies have improved the obstetrician's ability to assess fetal well-being as well as to diagnose fetal compromise. These technologies have given rise to very difficult ethical issues in the management of compromised twin pregnancies: for example, a choice must be made between putting a healthy twin at risk due to preterm delivery for the sake of a compromised cotwin or of allowing the compromised twin to die in order to buy time for the healthy twin. Though each case is unique, good medical practice requires a standard of care by which consistent patient management can be proposed. In the pluralistic environment of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, our staff has favored a standard of care based on patient autonomy. This approach demands: 1) a practitioner who offers a thorough explanation of the diagnosis and possible treatment approaches; 2) time for the patient and her partner to assimilate this information and test treatment options against their personal value system; 3) a third, but disinterestered, party to facilitate patient understanding and value clarification; 4) a practitioner either willing to support the patient's decisions or refer her to another practitioner who will.
ASJC Scopus subject areas