The Story of Margaret and Her Family: Forced Choices, Obligations, and Hope

Carnevale, Franco A.
May 2004
Pediatric Nursing;May/Jun2004, Vol. 30 Issue 3, p238
Academic Journal
Case Study
The article presents a case study of a terminally ill child suffering from brain tumor and how such situations bring together many different views about right and wrong. Some families will believe in hope, God and miracles while others will believe in scientific causal explanations. For some, mental function is a central feature of a life worth sustaining, whereas for those who believe in the soul, the worth of a life cannot be situated in the brain. For some, aging represents degeneration and decline (and therefore less worthy of some resuscitative therapies) whereas others regards aging with respect and dignity. In some situations, one person's hope can be another person's denial. The patient's story also highlights how a disparity of explanatory frameworks can result in divergent conceptions of the value or an individual child's life. Differing views of how to aggressively pursue curative therapy risk the emergence of misunderstandings over the worth or value of a particular child's life. Limitations of treatment, wherein health care professionals are aiming to protect terminally ill children from needless adverse effects, can be mistakenly interpreted as giving up on my child wherein "you don't consider it worthwhile to save my child anymore."


Related Articles

  • In the courts. Moskowitz, Ellen H. // Hastings Center Report;Mar/Apr93, Vol. 23 Issue 2, p4 

    Reports how end-of-life treatment decisions for infants in foster care, young children, and older adolescents are being handled by the courts in the states of Illinois, Michigan and West Virginia respectively. Consent to DNR orders; Physician's advice; Surrogate decision-making based on...

  • The Impact of Palliative Care Consultation on Symptom Assessment, Communication Needs, and Palliative Interventions in Pediatric Patients with Cancer. Zhukovsky, Donna S.; Herzog, Cynthia E.; Kaur, Guddi; Palmer, J. Lynn; Bruera, Eduardo // Journal of Palliative Medicine;Apr2009, Vol. 12 Issue 4, p343 

    Background: There are few data describing symptom prevalence in children with cancer. The available literature suggests that similar to adults, symptom prevalence and distress are high and that communication regarding end-of-life care needs is limited. Objectives: We evaluated symptom...

  • Beliefs and Perceptions about the Personality Characteristics of Children and Adults Suffering from a Terminal Illness. Truba, Natalie; Grieve, Frederick G. // North American Journal of Psychology;2010, Vol. 12 Issue 1, p43 

    Having an understanding of how people view terminally ill individuals may have implications for our health care system. Understanding how those individuals who are terminally ill are perceived may lead to more efficient treatment and allow those who are responsible for their overall care to...

  • Home care of a child dying of a malignancy and parental awareness of a child's impending death. Surkan, Pamela J.; Dickman, Paul W.; Steineck, Gunner; Onelöv, Erik; Kreicbergs, Ulrika // Palliative Medicine;May2006, Vol. 20 Issue 3, p161 

    In this population-based study, we found that parents who are aware that their child will die from a malignancy are more likely to care for their child at home during the child's last month of life compared to parents who are not aware. End-of-life home care was comparable to hospital care for...

  • Key Factors Affecting Dying Children and Their Families. Hinds, Pamela S.; Schum, Lisa; Baker, Justin N.; Wolfe, Joanne // Journal of Palliative Medicine;Dec2005 Supplement 1, Vol. 8, ps-70 

    The death of a child alters the life and health of others immediately and for the rest of their lives. How a child dies influences parents' abilities to continue their role functions as well as siblings' abilities to make and maintain friendships, and may be the basis for health care providers'...

  • Decisions at the End of Life. Drazen, Jeffrey M. // New England Journal of Medicine;9/18/2003, Vol. 349 Issue 12, p1109 

    Comments on how physicians in ICU interact with family members in deciding what care is appropriate for patients with terminal illnesses. Description of how the role of the ICU physician in reaching these decisions has evolved since the 1970s; Reference to results of an observational study...

  • Hospices.  // World Almanac & Book of Facts;2008, p156 

    An almanac entry for hospices located in the U.S. is presented. The Children's Hospice International in Virginia provides information and referrals to children's hospices. The Hospice Education Institute Hospicelink in Maine offers information and referrals to local programs. The contact details...

  • New Initiatives in End-of-Life Care. Rollins, Judy A. // Pediatric Nursing;May/Jun2002, Vol. 28 Issue 3, p292 

    Describes several initiatives to improve end-of-life care in the U.S. Key to improving care for children and families who suffer from chronic, life-threatening conditions; Features 'A Call for Change: Recommendations to Improve the Care of Children Living with Life-Threatening Conditions,' by...

  • Advanced cancer in children: how parents decide on final place of care for their dying child. Hannan, Julia; Gibson, Faith // International Journal of Palliative Nursing;Jun2005, Vol. 11 Issue 6, p284 

    Aim To explore retrospectively the decisions made by parents regarding their choice of place of care at time of death for their child with advanced cancer. Design Cross-sectional descriptive study. Analysis Interpretive phenomenological analysis. Sample Parents of five children who had died of...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics