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Saving premature babies – exploring ethics and the law

"It's one of the most important resources in this area of medical law thus far."

Industry professionals, academics and Deakin staff recently joined Dr Neera Bhatia to celebrate the launch of her book Critically Impaired Infants and End of Life Decision Making: Resource Allocation and Difficult Decisions.

Exploring the legal and ethical implications surrounding end of life decision making, the publication explores the allocation of finite healthcare resources and whether or how medical technology available to us today, should be used in every instance with critically impaired and extremely premature infants.

Opening the launch, Professor Sandeep Gopalan, Dean of Law and Head of Deakin Law School expressed his delight at the high-quality research outcomes published by the school in recent weeks.

‘It is wonderful to be able to join with so many, to acknowledge yet another truly remarkable accomplishment by one of our colleagues,’ he said.

The keynote address was given by prominent Oxford University Professor, philosopher and bioethicist Julian Savulescu.

With a specialisation in engaging in research, education and stimulating open discussion around the ethical issues arising in everyday life, he stated that Dr Bhatia’s book is one of the most important resources in this area of medical law thus far.

‘The elephant in the room of medical ethics is distributive justice and treatment limitation, or rationing. Dr Bhatia tackles this head-on for the first time in a comprehensive, provocative and original treatment of the law. This book is the beginning of progress.

‘It truly is a fantastic summary of the law and a wonderful resource,’ he said.

Thanking the audience, colleagues and in particular her supervisor Professor Mirko Bagaric, Dr Bhatia said: ‘Discussing health outcomes and treatment limitations against the back drop of finite public healthcare funds is an uncomfortable but necessary discussion.

‘The main premise of my book is to provide a platform for more open and honest conversation about end of life decision making for this select group of patients – let’s begin having these conversations this evening.’

Critically Impaired Infants and End of Life Decision Making – Resource Allocation and Difficult Decisions, published by Routledge Cavendish, is available through Amazon and the Book Depository and can be ordered here.  

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