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US announces new ruling on handicapped-baby care

The Reagan administration announced new rules Monday for the treatment of newborn infants diagnosed as severely handicapped. Hospitals will be asked to create committees of medical experts and community residents to recommend general policies for the treatment of such infants and to offer advice in cases in which a baby's parents and doctors are considering withholding medical treatment.

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Hospitals also will be required to post notices listing a federal phone number to be used in reporting cases that, in the caller's judgment, are not receiving proper care. The notices must recommend that potential callers first contact the hospital's infant-care review committee and the state child-protection agency.

These state agencies will be required to establish procedures for applying state laws to protect such infants from medical neglect.

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