Ethical Dilemmas Relating to the Management of a Newborn with Down Syndrome and Severe Congenital Heart Disease in a Resource-Poor Setting
Abstract

Decision-making regarding treatment for newborns with disabilities in resource-poor settings is a difficult process that can put parents and caregivers in conflict. Despite several guidelines that have helped to clarify some of the medical decision-making in Ghana, there is still no clear consensus on the specific moral criteria to be used. This article presents the case of a mother who expressed her wish that her child with Down syndrome should not have been resuscitated at birth. It explores the ethical issues at stake in both her misgivings about the resuscitation and her unwillingness to consider surgical repair of an atrioventricular (AV) canal defect. Knowing that children born with Down syndrome are able to pursue life’s goals, should our treatment of complete AV canal defect in such children be considered morally obligatory, even in resource-poor settings like Ghana?


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