Nursing Reflections on Moral Angst

It is generally known that today half of anencephalic babies are born alive. They can live for three or five days or very infrequent few are alive for months or years. Nobody knows why such children are born, but one thing is exact – it is a tragedy and an exam for their parents.

In our story there are some conflicts concerning the necessity and obligation of taking care of the anencephalic baby. Moreover, a question that deals with the moral duty of parents is difficult to discuss.

Let us start with the very beginning of the story. Firstly, when parents decide to have a baby, it is their duty to think beforehand about the child’s health. For these purposes, doctors suggest to pass special tests before the pregnancy and to use a positive maternal serum-screening test. You can be informed beforehand if there is a high risk that your baby has a neural tube defect. (Baines P., 2005)

In our case, the parents, devout Catholics, who refused to have prenatal testing including ultrasound. This means theyhave set their spiritual belief against the baby’s life and health. On the other hand, if they have known about the baby’s blemish, these people would have never done the abortion.

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Secondly, parents in this situation even do not think about “want” to care, they just “must” take care about such children. The medicine says that there are possibilities to take care of a few anencephalic babies. Any of them even can drink from a specially made bottle, which makes the process of swallowing easier and many other things exist we can do for these children. As parents decided to take such baby home, this characterizes them as people of high moral values. Nowadays, moral and ethical questions as to the person’s status of anencephalics discussing in a society, hesitate either they feel pain or not, or what standards of medical care should they receive? These parents acted with a child like with a real person, who though will not live long, but needs love and care during his short and painful life.

Thirdly, the role of the nurse caring for this aanencephaly child should be discussed. If the nurse agrees to do this toil, she cannot stay in the middle because this work needs to centre for an assortment of physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs. The nurse has been informed about the moral decision that was made by the parents. The parents did not want their baby to be parted for organs and thus they deprived another child of the chance to live.  Her duty in this case is to help caring about the anencephalic baby and after its death to be able to give emotional support for the parents. (Arnold, Gemma, & Cushman, 2005).

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To make a conclusion, we have to say that a problem of moral decisions as to anencephalics must not be discussed based on accusation of parents, doctors, and nurses. We cannot feel what they experience thus each of the possible decisions are to be acquitted according moral and ethic. In addition, it is vital for the nurse to highlight that, although there is no treat for anencephaly child, he/she is still a unique person and the nurse, and parents must give such baby a quality life while its heart still beats.

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