Death or Disability?
Wilkinson, D., (2013), 'Death or Disability? The 'Carmentis Machine' and decision-making for critically ill children'. (Oxford, Oxford University Press)
In ancient Rome parents would consult the priestess Carmentis shortly after birth to obtain prophecies of the future of their newborn infant. Today, parents and doctors of critically ill children consult a different oracle. Neuroimaging provides a vision of the child's future, particularly of the nature and severity of any disability. Based on the results of brain scans and other tests doctors and parents face heart-breaking decisions about whether or not to continue intensive treatment or to allow the child to die.
Paediatrician and ethicist Dominic Wilkinson looks at the profound and contentious ethical issues facing those who work in intensive care caring for critically ill children and infants. When should infants or children be allowed to die? How accurate are predictions of future quality of life? How much say should parents have in these decisions? How should they deal with uncertainty about the future? He combines philosophy, medicine and science to shed light on current and future dilemmas.
This book reflects a remarkable blend of philosophical sophistication and clinical expertise . . . Wilkinson's book will be mandatory reading for philosophers and clinical ethicists who are writing on, or working with, critically ill children and their parents. - J. Paul Kelleher, Mind
this is a wonderful book: wise, clever, humane, realistic and humble. It will be, and richly deserves to be, the cornerstone of academic and practitioner debate about this terrible, and terribly important area of ethics and medicine. - Charles Foster, European Journal of Health Law
His style, clear and simple for a work on a subject of considerable complexity, and yet profound in its way of dealing with issues more related to philosophy and ethics, make this book a read of great interest not only for professionals pediatric medicine, but also for affected families and for anyone who wants to know the problems of bioethics from a multidisciplinary perspective. - Revista Española de Discapacidad
the best book of the decade in bioethics . . . this is a book that must be read by everybody who is seriously interested in the bioethical issues that arise in neonatal intensive care or, more generally, in decision making for children with chronic, debilitating or life-threatening conditions. - John D. Lantos, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
this was an interesting read, comprehensive, analytical, and thought-provoking . . . Wilkinson does a good job of articulating and providing evidence to support his point of view. He successfully accomplishes what he sets out to do, while keeping the reader entertained with historical points, clinical examples, and philosophical theories and vignettes. - Marlyse F. Haward, The American Journal of Bioethics
The author skilfully draws on his training in philosophy, bioscience and clinical practice to offer an analysis that is original, not merely in content but also in form. Wilkinsons comparison of the Carmentis Machine with contemporary neuroimaging is inspired. - Deborah Bowman, Times Higher Education Supplement