With the ever-increasing availability of aggressive medical treatment and technical support, neonatologists are offered an increasing ability to prolong life. While "end-of-life" decisions within NICUs have been studied internationally, there is limited data available for Ireland. Through the auspices of the Irish Faculty of Paediatrics 2002 Neonatal Mortality Ouestionnaire, decisions made around the time of death in Irish Neonatal Intensive Care Units were examined. The overall response rate to the questionnaire was 96% (n=25). One hundred and eighty seven deaths were reported for 2002. Information pertaining to the mode of death was available in 53% of cases. Seventy seven percent of those paediatricians who answered this question, reported either withdrawing or withholding treatment in babies thought to have a hopeless outcome, with the greatest proportion of these deaths occurring in premature infants (n=30) and babies with congenital defects (n=40).
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