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Dr Gudrun Simmer

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Ethicist and midwife Dr Gudrun Simmer, who is part of the Perinatal Palliative Care Project at the St Josef Hospital in Vienna/Austria, delved into the ethical dimensions of (co-)twin loss. Key questions explored were: How can we provide good care, and how can we create a caring institution?

To dignify care, Dr Simmer emphasised the importance of listening to parents’ stories, creating safe spaces where every emotion is welcome, and acknowledging their unique circumstances. As HCPs, the role in the narrative of parents can either be a source of support or – in the worst case – create significant obstacles in their ongoing healing journey.

Bioethical principles can guide us in providing quality care. Acknowledging the family’s vulnerability, while upholding their dignity and respecting their autonomy through shared decision-making, is paramount.

Dr Simmer proposed an ethical framework to foster a caring institution: From cultivating personal skills to creating a caring culture in units through collective reflection in multidisciplinary teams, the approach spans from micro to macro levels.

By allocating the necessary resources, let’s build a healthcare community that respects and responds to the needs of families, valuing each life’s journey with compassion and integrity.