Making decisions for the severely handicapped newborn

J. M. Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Commenting on New York's "Baby Jane Doe" case involving the withholding of surgery from a newborn with spina bifida and other complications, Freeman examines the process of good decision making in such instances. He defines a good decision as one in which the right things are done for the right reasons, with input from everyone, professional and family member, who is involved with the patient. Physicians in particular have an obligation to be aware of and to communicate to the parents the latest developments in the long-term care of the handicapped. Basing his review of Baby Jane's treatment on the limited information available to the public, Freeman questions the extremely negative prognosis that physicians gave to her parents. While acknowledging the difficulties of predicting outcomes for spina bifida patients, he asks whether specialist review of Baby Jane's case might not have resulted in more vigorous treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-294
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of health politics, policy and law
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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