Ethical Considerations in the Care of Children With Life-Limiting Conditions: A Case Illustration of the Role of a Pediatric Psychologist on a Hospital Ethics Committee

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Abstract

Recent advances in neonatal medicine have led to increased survival rates in children with life-limiting diseases. The care of these children often involves ethical questions regarding the potential risks and benefits of prolonging life through increasingly invasive procedures, or forgoing interventions, in the best interest of the child, in order to limit their possible suffering. This article presents current ethical guidelines that can inform the care of such children. Additionally, the important role of pediatric ethics committees in facilitating family centered care is discussed. Finally, a case illustration is included with the aim of describing how a pediatric psychologist, who is integrated into an ethics committee, can promote joint decision-making, as well as serve in an important consultative role to medical teams to facilitate collaborative and compassionate care.

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