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Case Report

Med Arh. 2019; 73(2): 126-130


Ethical and Legal Dilemmas Around Termination of Pregnancy for Severe Fetal Hydrocephalus, Spina Bifida Aperta and Meningomyelocoella

Anis Cerovac; Adnan Šerak; Haris Zuki& ;; Enida Neva& ;inovi& ;; D& ;enita Ljuca; Alma Brigi& ;; Dubravko Habek.

Abstract
Introduction: There are many ethical and moral dilemmas regarding the termination of pregnancy(TOP) with severe fetal anomalies. Aim: Our aim is to present a case of severe fetal hydrocephalus (HCP), spina bifida aperta and, meningomyelocoella (MMC). Case report: A gynecologist examined a 23-year-old patient with vital pregnancy of 24/25 week of gestation (WG) with the anomaly of the fetus. At the Perinatological Medical Advisory Board, a decision was made that the pregnancy should be continued and monitored bearing in mind that pregnancy exceeded the legal framework for TOP. Medical Advisory Board’s ultrasound examination showed the following: severe hydrocephalus (HCP), spina bifida aperta, hyperehogen intestine, pes equinovarus. Via multidisciplinary consultation it was decided to make a delivery with the elective caesarian section (CS) causing as little trauma to the fetus as possible, with 37 WG completed due to the pelvic presentation and fetal anomalies. The patient gave birth via CS to a live female newborn–birth weight 3920 grams, birth length 56 cm, head circumference 48 cm, and Apgar score 8/8. The head was hydrocephalic with spaced suture. There was thoracolumbar defect of spina bifida aperta and meningomyelocele (MMC) 10x12 cm in size. An urgent surgical procedure - the external ventricular derivation of the liquor, and then the successful resection and plastic meningomyelocele was performed by a team of neuro and plastic surgeons. During the fourth postoperative day due to a suspicion of abscess collection and febrility of the mother a relaparotomy is performed and the abscess collection of Retzius space was found. Due to the fall in blood count, blood transfusion in a total dose of 580 ml was given. The patient was discharged on a home treatment as she had a regular general and local status. After the surgery, the condition of the newborn resulted in deterioration, the progression of HCP and dehiscence of head wounds and the thoracolumbar region, in spite of all the measures taken. At that time a decision was made to provide palliative care and this decision was conveyed to the mother. The child had a prolonged apnoeic episode and was not resuscitated. The child died in hospital after surviving for two months postpartum. Conclusion: Indication of TOP based on fetal anomalies could be a medical decision but also a personal moral choice of the mother related to legal rules, socio-cultural values and religious beliefs.

Key words: Fetus as a patient;Fetal anomalies;Delivery;Ethics;Termination of pregnancy



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