Newborns are less likely to be resuscitated than adults: study
Medical staff are less likely to resuscitate newborns than they are children and adults, according to a new study.
A team of researchers at l’Université de Montréal studied the approach of the medical staff of various Montreal hospitals practising resuscitation manoeuvres on patients of different ages. The study focused on scenarios involving the arrival of several patients at the same time in the emergency room when there was only one doctor present.
The aim was to find out who would be a priority for staff. A questionnaire revealed that when confronted with different scenarios of patients in critical condition, medical staff were more likely to save adults and children than newborns.
The findings were published in latest edition of The Journal of Pediatrics.
The decisions of life and death are among the most difficult to make in medicine, said the principal investigator of the study, Amélie Du Pont-Thibodeau. The survey was conducted by four authors, three of whom are physicians.
The researchers surveyed 50 medical residents and 30 nurses, all working in intensive-care units of the city’s two pediatric hospitals, Ste-Justine and the Montreal Children’s.
They found respondents are generally better able to accept infant death, even when the prognosis for resuscitation is comparable to that for older patients.
Called to justify their choices, doctors and nurses said their decisions reflected the best chances for survival.
But when it was pointed out to them the prognosis of the newborns was identical to that of the person chosen for the resuscitation manoeuvre, they offered explanations concerning the newborn’s “status of person” and the question of the level of attachment of the family.