Dr. Curley's Perfect Storm

By H. I. Grousbeck, C. G. Prober, Alexander Tauber
2010 | Case No. ETH10 | Length 9 pgs.
Dr. Curley is an obstetrician that deals with a very difficult birth of the new Santorini child. The Santorinis have been through a stillbirth, and upon getting pregnant again, extreme cautions are taken to ensure the safety and health of their new child. This case takes the reader through the difficult decisions that must be made by the doctor and family as “a perfect storm” of birthing complications ensues. The Santorini’s son is born with down syndrome and heart problems that require difficult surgeries. To add on to the strain, the family is tied down by significant financial problems. The doctor must decide how to tell the family their options before they expose their newborn to highly risky surgeries, with the added financial difficulties.

Learning Objective

This case serves as an example of the difficulties doctors face as aids with the most serious decision making. The difficulty of the Santorini’s situation, in the face of only 12 hours to make a decision about their newborn’s life, emphasizes the importance of a doctor’s ability to communicate. A doctor’s leadership in communicating and discussing options and information with his patients is essential.
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