I discussed this finding with the mother and her father, the baby's grandfather, who are very nice people. Although I tried to be gentle, I was pretty explicit with them, using phrases like "he won't walk or talk." They took it about as well as you would expect a family to take it.
A few days ago I saw a pediatrician who had seen the baby as an outpatient. The child, not surprisingly, was having multiple problems, including seizures, dehydration, and an inability to keep his temperature up. But the part that bothered me was that some physician had put this baby on a cardiorespiratory monitor at home, for the purpose of preventing a death when the baby was unattended. This act, to me, was simply an abdication of responsibility. The best thing that could happen to this baby would be to pass away peacefully in his sleep. To provide a monitor not only prevents that (maybe), but also give the parents false hope. The pediatrician told me the parents were being very unrealistic and thought this baby was going to be fine. The response to that should be to keep talking truthfully but empathetically to them, not to buy into their unrealistic hopes.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not someone who thinks all impaired children should be killed or that we need to obtain an eugenic society. But prolonging a dismal life is no good either. Sometimes the best we can do for a patient is not so good, but merely the least bad thing. Whoever prescribed the monitor took the easy route in the short run, acquiescing to the parents' request instead of taking the time to tell them why a monitor was inappropriate.