When they believe in miracles

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Abstract

Brierley et al argue that in cases where it is medically futile to continue providing life-sustaining therapies to children in intensive care, medical professionals should be allowed to withdraw such therapies, even when the parents of these children believe that there is a chance of a miracle cure taking place. In reasoning this way, Brierley et al appear to implicitly assume that miracle cures will never take place, but they do not justify this assumption and it would be very difficult for them to do so. Instead of seeking to override the wishes of parents, who are waiting for a miracle, it is suggested that a better response may be to seek to engage devout parents on their own terms, and encourage them to think about whether or not continuing life-sustaining therapies will make it more likely that a miracle cure will occur.

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