In October 1984, a diverse group that included physicians and other health professionals, attorneys, members of the press, ethicists, and social scientists met for two and a half days at the State University of New York at Stony Brook to discuss the medical, ethical, and social issues raised by the treatment of handicapped newborns. The most important recommendation of the conferees was that every institution that treats handicapped newborns should have an explicit policy on how difficult treatment decisions will be made and how their institutional consequences will be managed. The need for explicit policy is a result both of changes in the external regulatory environment and of the inherent difficulty of decisions about treating handicapped newborns. Institutional policy should address both internal decision-making processes and how information about controversial cases will be shared with various publics. What follows is a summary of the conferees' views about what physicians and hospital staff should consider in establishing policies for their institutions.

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