Cultural sensitivity in paediatrics

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In a recent Journal of Medical Ethics article, ‘Should Religious Beliefs Be Allowed to Stonewall a Secular Approach to Withdrawing and Withholding Treatment in Children?’, Joe Brierley, Jim Linthicum and Andy Petros argue for rapid intervention in cases of futile life-sustaining treatment. In their experience, when discussions of futility are initiated with parents, parents often appeal to religion to ‘stonewall’ attempts to disconnect their children from life support. However, I will argue that the intervention that the authors propose is culturally insensitive.

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