Conjoined Twins Separation Leading to the Death of One Twin: An Expanded Ethical Analysis of Issues Facing the ICU Team


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Abstract

A recent case of conjoined twins required multiple hospitalizations in the pediatric intensive care unit and led to a difficult situation confronting staff regarding the potential separation where surgery would result in the death of one twin. The hospital ethics committee was consulted. A systematic approach was utilized to examine medical standards, historical precedents, and various ethical and legal frameworks. The ethics committee believed that either proceeding with or forgoing attempted separation surgery would be ethically acceptable. We share our reasoning and lessons learned for others facing this situation in the future.

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