Neonatal end-of-life care: A single-center NICU experience in Israel over a decade


Neonatal end-of-life care: A single-center NICU experience in Israel over a decade


Eventov-Friedman S; Kanevsky H; Bar-Oz B






newborn care; newborn mortality; adrenal insufficiency/ep [Epidemiology]; anemia/ep [Epidemiology]; Article; brain edema/ep [Epidemiology]; brain hemorrhage/ep [Epidemiology]; cause of death; child parent relation; congenital malformation/ep [Epidemiology]; gestational age; Human; Incidence; Israel; Jerusalem; kidney failure/ep [Epidemiology]; Medical Decision Making; Middle East; necrotizing enterocolitis/ep [Epidemiology]; Newborn; newborn death; newborn hypoxia/ep [Epidemiology]; Newborn Intensive Care; newborn sepsis/ep [Epidemiology]; practice guideline; prematurity; priority journal; quality of life; Religion; respiratory failure/ep [Epidemiology]; sepsis/ep [Epidemiology]; shock/ep [Epidemiology]; treatment duration


OBJECTIVES: To follow changes in the causes of neonatal deaths in the NICU at Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel, over a decade; to examine trends regarding types of end-of-life-care provided (primary nonintervention, maximal intensive, and redirection of intensive care, including limitation of care and withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment); and to assess the parental role in the decision-making process given that the majority of the population is religious. METHODS: All neonates who died between 2000 and 2009 were identified. The causes and circumstances of death were Abstract: ed from the medical records. Trends in end-of-life decisions were compared between 2 time periods: 2000-2004 versus 2005-2009. RESULTS: Overall, 239 neonates died. The leading cause of death in both study periods was prematurity and its complications (76%). Among term infants, the leading cause of death was congenital anomalies (48%). Fifty-six percent of the infants received maximal intensive care; 28% had redirection of intensive care, of whom 10% had withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment; and 16% had primary nonintervention care. Over the years, maximal intensive care decreased from 65% to 46% (P < .02), whereas redirection of care increased from 19.2% to 37.5% (P < .0005). An active parental role in the end-of-life decision process increased from 38% to 84%. CONCLUSIONS: Even among religious families of extremely sick neonates, redirection of care is a feasible treatment option, suggesting that apart from survival, quality-of-life considerations emerge as an important factor in the decision-making process for the infant, parents, and caregivers.


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Eventov-Friedman S; Kanevsky H; Bar-Oz B, “Neonatal end-of-life care: A single-center NICU experience in Israel over a decade,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed November 28, 2023,