Should We Have Separated Conjoined Twins, Knowing One Would Die?

November 1, 2017

(STAT News) – Our pediatric ethics committee reviewed numerous arguments and readings, including former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop’s 1977 case of conjoined twins with a shared heart. Our daily mission as physicians is to do no harm, ensure a child’s best interests, and honor a parent’s rights to make decisions for that child. How we could accomplish all three was something we dispassionately debated for endless hours over multiple weeks. Did we have a duty to act, or should we allow nature to take its course? Who decides what to do?

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