Baby DoeJoe Segen2016-12-12T00:18:51+00:00
An infant with Down syndrome born in 1982 in Indiana who had a tracheo-oesophageal fistula that required surgery for the infant’s prolonged survival. Given the infant’s anticipated poor quality of life; the parents chose to withhold treatment with the local court’s approval and the child died within 6 days
The ensuing ethical debate resulted in an interpretation of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which views as unlawful the withholding of nutritional support or necessary medical treatment from handicapped infants. The Baby Doe Law or Baby Doe Amendment (USCA 42, Chapter 67, Sec. 5106a) was passed in 1984 and delineated specific criteria and guidelines for treating seriously ill and/or disabled newborns, regardless of the parents’ wishes.