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Ethical Issues at the End of Life: Caring for Gravely Ill Children 

Ethical Issues at the End of Life: Caring for Gravely Ill Children
Chapter:
Ethical Issues at the End of Life: Caring for Gravely Ill Children
Source:
Pediatric Ethics: Protecting the Interests of Children
Author(s):

Alan R. Fleischman

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199354474.003.0006

This chapter deals with the difficult ethical issues associated with children who are dying. A recurring theme in the chapter is the role that children can play in planning their own care. The concept of brain death is examined and it is contrasted with cardiac death. The practice of organ donation after cardiac death is described and its ethical justification is questioned. . Several other controversial ethical issues are analyzed, including the distinction between withholding and withdrawing of treatment, withdrawing medically provided hydration and nutrition from infants who are not in the process of dying, whether pain management at the end of life hastens death and is therefore not permitted, and whether children should die in the hospital or at home. The chapter concludes with a description of how to support families after the death of a child.

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