Ethical dilemmas of recording and reviewing neonatal resuscitation

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Abstract

Neonatal resuscitation is provided to approximately 3% of neonates. Adequate ventilation is often the key to successful resuscitation, but this can be difficult to provide. There is increasing evidence that inappropriate respiratory support can have severe consequences. Several neonatal intensive care units have recorded and reviewed neonatal resuscitation procedures for quality assessment, education and research; however, ethical dilemmas sometimes make it difficult to implement this review process. We reviewed the literature on the development of recording and reviewing neonatal resuscitation and have summarised the ethical concerns involved. Recording and reviewing vital physiological parameters and video imaging of neonatal resuscitation in the delivery room is a valuable tool for quality assurance, education and research. Furthermore, it can improve the quality of neonatal resuscitation provided. We observed that ethical dilemmas arise as the review process is operating in several domains of healthcare that all have their specific moral framework with requirements and conditions on issues such as consent, privacy and data storage. These moral requirements and conditions vary due to local circumstances. Further research on the ethical aspects of recording and reviewing is desirable before wider implementation of this technique can be recommended.

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