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September 1998

The Role of the Primary Pediatrician When a Child Dies

Author Affiliations

Not Available

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1998;152(9):837-838. doi:10.1001/archpedi.152.9.837

THE DEATH of a child often occurs in a hospital or emergency department. Parents and other family members receive varying degrees of support from consultants, attending physicians, house officers, emergency department personnel, nurses, social workers, and clergy. After the death of the child a family returns home, which is often at a distance from the hospital. The supportive relationship with hospital personnel usually terminates.

A primary pediatrician, particularly if there is a prior relationship with a family, can provide important support at this tragic moment. The extent of a physician's involvement depends on one's ability to bear the stress of working with adults and children suffering the loss of a beloved family member and one's familiarity with the normal process of grieving.

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