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Panminerva Medica 2007 June;49(2):83-96

language: English

The anencephalic newborn: medical/legal and bioethical issues

Massimelli M.

Department of Anatomy Pharmacology and Legal Medicine University of Turin, Turin, Italy


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Anencephaly, a severe congenital malformation, is frequently associated with other malformations not involving the central nervous system. Diagnosis is usually antenatal and expectation of life is very short. This article reviews noted cases reported in the past two decades, examines bioethical opinions, as well as ethical and medico-legal questions in relation to current Italian law, including medical professional responsibility and the “slippery slope” of issues concerning the anencephalic newborn as organ donor.

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