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January 2002

Pediatric Palliative CareThe Time Has Come

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002;156(1):9-10. doi:10.1001/archpedi.156.1.9

WE ARE RIDING on the crest of miraculous advances in the diagnosis and treatment of numerous diseases and debilitating conditions. Pediatric health care providers are caught up in the wider culture of the expectation that with enough research, testing, and treatment, we should be able to effectively cure or control the health problems of the children for whom we care. Even for diagnoses known to be life limiting, the assumed goal of medical care remains curative in intent. This expectation, and our determination as health care professionals to provide the best care for our patients, has led unintentionally to our denial that death is in fact the ultimate outcome for many. Superspecialized tertiary and quaternary care often blinds us from noticing that, sometimes, the child for whom we care is dying. This sacred moment can be swept away in the undertow of high technology. Contro et al1 help us regain our footing with their report directly from the parents of our patients. They elegantly describe the needs of dying children and their families, offering us the voices of the families themselves.

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