Aim To ascertain parents’ attitude, knowledge and awareness of the type of Surfactant used in the Neonatal unit to treat Respiratory Distress Syndrome and their religious perspective.
Method This is a pilot project where we emailed all the staff with different cultural background in one Hospital a Surfactant survey questionnaire seeking their opinion as a parent.
Results We received 151 responses of which 63% were from females and 37% were from males. The majority of people who responded believe in Christianity (62%), 24% did not disclose there beliefs, 8% believe in Islam and 6% believe in Hinduism. More than half of the responses were from non-medical staff (55%), doctors (23%) and nursing staff (22%). 74% who responded felt that the neonatal unit should stock all available types of surfactant and 79% responded that there should have been discussions regarding the different types of surfactant available and this should be included in antenatal counselling. Approximately 11% preferred either bovine or porcine surfactant based on religious beliefs, 36% preferred non-animal derived surfactant which was for personal reasons and 53% had no preferences.
Conclusion In the current multicultural society, it is necessary to consider cultural beliefs of all patients. Paediatricians and Neonatologists must respect patient’s and parent’s autonomy and beliefs and they must be given sufficient information in a way that they can understand and are able to exercise their right to make informed decisions about their care. There are medico legal implications for ethical issues.