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28 Cap. U. L. Rev. 251 (1999-2000)
Neonatology Life and Death Decisions: Can Mediation Help

handle is hein.journals/capulr28 and id is 261 raw text is: NEONATOLOGY LIFE AND DEATH DECISIONS:
CAN MEDIATION HELP ?
KIMBERLEE K. KOVACH*
A distraught father, Rudy Linares, held staffers and police
at bay with a gun at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical
Center while he disconnected his comatose 15-month-old
son's respirator and held him until the child died'
I. INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW
This paper explores mediation's potential to assist in the difficult
process of life and death decision making that takes place in hospital
neonatology intensive care units (NICU).2 It is hoped that at a minimum
this work will provoke a consideration of a new view of the way decisions
are made. While several articles have examined decision making in the
context of neonatal care,3 very few have focused on the process of making
the decision. Rather, most discussions focus on the outcome, as well as
the criteria used in making such decisions.5 Focus has also been placed on
who should be making these decisions.6 Because of the types of decisions
that are made, the lasting consequences of the decisions, and the myriad of
persons effected, it is also important that the process itself be considered.
In this article, the decision-making process in the NICU as it currently
exists will be examined.7    Use of alternative dispute resolution, and
Copyright 0 2000, Kimberlee K. Kovach.
*    Professor of Law, University of Texas School of Law.
Jean Latz Griffen & William Grady, Hospital in center of storm: Life-support
controversy follows death of infant, CHI. TRn., Apr. 28, 1989, at 1.
2    Neonatology is the area of medicine which deals in the treatment of newborns
who require specialized care. See MICHAEL D. VOLK, OBSTETRIC AND NEONATAL
MALPRACTICE: LEGAL AND MEDICAL HANDBOOK § 2.8, at 2-9 (2d ed. 1987).
3    See Frank I. Clark, Withdrawl of Life-Support in the Newborn: Whose Baby Is
It?, 23 Sw. U. L. REv. 1 (1993); Jennifer Stokley, Note, Withdrawing or Withholding
Medical Care from Premature Infants: Who Should Decide and How?, 70 N.D. L. REv.
129 (1994); Patricia M. Phillips, Comment, Treatment Decisions for Seriously Ill
Newborns: Who Should Decide?, 21 CAP. U. L. REv. 919 (1992).
4    See, e.g., Carl E. Schneider, Rights Discourse and Neonatal Euthanasia, 76
CALIF. L. REV. 151 (1988).
5    See C. Versluys, Ethics of Neonatal Care, LANCET, Mar. 27, 1993.
6    See sources cited supra note 3.
7    I am mindful that many NICUs exist throughout the United States and the world,
and that they will allrdiffer somewhat.

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