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November 25, 2019

Moving Beyond Using the Term Poor Prognosis in Children With Severe Neurological Impairment: A Linguistic Shortcut Better Avoided

Author Affiliations
  • 1Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics, Seattle Children's Hospital and Research Institute, Seattle, Washington
  • 2Division of Bioethics and Palliative Care, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle
JAMA Pediatr. 2020;174(1):11-12. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.4503

A baby is born prematurely at 23 weeks’ gestational age with many typical complications of extreme prematurity. At 47 weeks’ adjusted gestational age, she continues to receive ventilation, is fed through a nasal-duodenal tube, and has grade IV bilateral intraventricular hemorrhages resulting in global encephalomalacia. Her parents are counselled that she has a “poor prognosis” and a decision needs to be made about whether life-sustaining treatments should be continued or stopped.

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