Logotipo del SMU


Uruguayan Medical Journal

ISSN: 1688-0390

Vol.29 - Nº 3 - Set. 2013

Previous Art | Index | Next Art

Clinical approach to the maternal-fetal conflict and its relation with the status of the fetus as a patient

Rev Med Urug 2013; 29: 187-194
Full text (spanish) |  Full text (spanish) (New windows, pdf) | Abstract


Introducction: situations when the medical indications to be taken to benefit the life of the fetus are against the lack of consent of the pregnant woman constitute some of the most complex cases the health team in general, and gynecotocologists in particular, face. These conflicts of interest, though rather unusual, are hard to solve and thus, it is essential to address the problem in order to observe the professional role for the benefit of the maternal-fetal unit.

Purpose: to analyse the conflict situations arising when a pregnant woman refuses to prenatal health care visits for the benefit of the life of the fetus, when they are viable, and to systematize the approach to these cases.

Discussion: the professionals' responsibilities when it comes to analysing and addressing the maternal-fetal conflict are analysed both from the bioethical perspective and the professional values' perspective.

Conclusions: the fetus becomes a patient when the woman presents it for prenatal care, and it is the woman who confers this value to the fetus before the professional who sees her. It is important to avoid the conflict by means of an appropriate physician-patient relation and to address it, if it occurs, in a systematic and comprehensive way, to benefit the maternal-fetal unit.