Maternal Brain Death, Pregnancy and the Foetus: The Medico- Legal Implications for Ireland
Sheikh, Asim A.
Cusack, Denis A.
Medicine and Law: World Association for Medical Law 2004; 23(2): 237-250
This paper examines some of the medico-legal issues that arose as a result of a situation which occurred in May 2001 in Ireland when a woman who was a British citizen and who was fourteen weeks pregnant collapsed and suffered a brain haemorrhage. She was taken to hospital where she was placed on life support but declared brain-dead. As a result of the uncertainty regarding the hospital's obligation to the foetus, life-support was maintained until further opinion was sought. After two weeks the foetus died and life support was only then discontinued. In Ireland there currently exists neither medical guidelines nor legislation to regulate such areas of medical practice. Also, the courts have not had the opportunity to comment on this particular matter and thus there exists widespread concern as to how healthcare providers will act if such situation were to occur again in the future. This article examines the following difficult medico-legal implications that arise from the above situation and especially in light of the constitutional protection of the unborn child in Ireland.
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Cusack, Denis A.; Sheikh, Asim A.; Hyslop-Westrup, Jennifer L. (2000-04)
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