Pediatric Patients: Do Not Resuscitate Decisions
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The ethical challenges surrounding do not resuscitate (DNR) decisions in pediatric patients differ significantly from those in adult patients. Pediatric patients are in an ethical class of their own, and rely, in most cases, on their parents to make decisions for them, albeit with the pediatric patient’s assent when appropriate. Both the initial decision to enter a DNR order and then the reevaluation of that order in the perioperative setting require timely, open, and compassionate communication on the part of the healthcare providers with the involved parties. The physician’s primary obligation in these cases is to the patient with thoughtful awareness of the needs of the family. It is the family that will have to cope with the death of their child and the decisions they have made for the rest of their lives.
KeywordsDo Not Resuscitate Orders Pediatric Patients Anesthesia Surgery End-of-Life Decisions
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