evidence and practice
Withdrawal of treatment from critically ill children: legal and ethical issues
Alison Taylor Senior Lecturer, School of Health Sciences, University of Brighton, England
Withdrawal of treatment from critically ill children is a contentious and ethically difficult area. The principle of best interests was central to three recent high-profile legal cases and raised questions about how this is demonstrated in healthcare for children whose treatment may be of no benefit to them.
This article discusses the legal and ethical aspects of caring for such children. Nurses are important advocates and should balance their obligation to deliver holistic and family-centred care with that of keeping the child as the central focus, particularly with decision-making. In cases of disagreement between families and clinicians, children’s voices are particularly vulnerable to being lost. Pre- and post-registration education, research and a higher profile for nurses in multidisciplinary decision-making are suggested as ways to improve the nursing contribution to this important debate.
Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2019.e1224Peer review
This article has been subject to open peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated softwareCorrespondence
Taylor A (2019) Withdrawal of treatment from critically ill children: legal and ethical issues. Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2019.e1224
Published online: 04 September 2019