Pediatric Death by Neurologic Criteria: The Ever-Changing Landscape and the Expanding Role of Palliative Care Professionals

Title

Pediatric Death by Neurologic Criteria: The Ever-Changing Landscape and the Expanding Role of Palliative Care Professionals

Creator

Sawyer KE; Kraft SA; Wightman AG; Clark JD

Publisher

Journal of Pain and Symptom Management

Date

2021

Subject

Pediatrics; Ethics; Brain death; Death by neurologic criteria; Legal

Description

Pediatric palliative care providers are especially suited to support families and medical teams facing a potential diagnosis of brain death, or death by neurologic criteria (DNC), when a child suffers a devastating brain injury. To support pediatric palliative care providers' effectiveness in this role, this article elucidates the clinical determination of DNC and the evolution of the ethical and legal controversies surrounding DNC. Conceptual definitions of death used in the context of DNC have been and continue to be debated amongst academicians, and children's families often have their own concept of death. Increasingly, families have brought legal cases challenging the definition of death, arguing for a right to refuse examination to diagnose DNC, and/or voicing religious objections. We describe these conceptual definitions and legal challenges then explore some potential reasons why families may dispute a determination of DNC. We conclude that working with patients, families, and healthcare providers facing DNC carries inherent and unique challenges suited to intervention by interdisciplinary palliative care teams.

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Citation List Month

July 2021 List

Collection

Citation

Sawyer KE; Kraft SA; Wightman AG; Clark JD, “Pediatric Death by Neurologic Criteria: The Ever-Changing Landscape and the Expanding Role of Palliative Care Professionals,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed December 7, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/17606.

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