There is a fundamental misunderstanding in the public about end-of-life care, which I think is relate to, but not the root cause of, a significant amount of vitriol directed at abortion by forced birth advocates. 1/
If there is one thing I have learned in the #pedsICU, where death and dying are part of everyday life and medicine, it is that the goal of medicine is not to “save” the life of every baby, child, adolescent, or adult that comes through the doors. 2/
The medical team acts on the wishes of the parents and family to provide goal-directed care based on the patient’s quality of life, potential for meaningful recovery, and more. We can almost always keep a heart beating,but that doesn’t always mean we should. 3/
When there is a low likelihood of meaningful recovery for a patient, the clinical team often will talk with the family to evaluate the goals of care. Sometimes, a pain-free death surrounded by loved ones, often in the arms of the parents, is the best outcome. 4/
I get frustrated when I see in the media articles about how a sick celebrity or politician is “stopping treatment.” They’re not. They may be no longer undergoing chemo or radiation, but there are absolutely still physicians involved to ensure a maximum quality of life for as..
long as possible. You may recall @DrJenGunter’s beautifully-written testament to her own experience giving birth to a premature baby whose most appropriate care plan was “a blanket and an embrace.” 6/
There is a significant amount of grey area in how parents define meaningful recovery and quality of life, but there is a constant: the pediatric intensivits, neonatologist, OB/GYNs etc. who do everything in their power to realize the goals of the family. 7/
The media and entertainment industry does a really terrible job of portraying end of life issues. Rarely are there ridiculous miracles afforded to babies born to a life of suffering if exhaustively resuscitated. 8/
To be honest, a death free of pain and surrounded by love is the best any of us can hope for in the inevitability of our lives, and when parents choose a this, or to terminate pregnancy so their child isn’t born to suffer, they do so out of love and courage. /fin
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