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Controversy About Dialysis for an Adolescent

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Tate, T.; Goldberg, A.; Wightman, A.; Warady, B. A.; Lantos, J. D.

For patients on dialysis, 1 frequent cause of death is their voluntary decision to discontinue dialysis. Such decisions raise complex questions when the patient is a competent adult. The decisions are even more complex when the patient is an adolescent. In this article, we present a case in which a 17-year-old adolescent decided that she no longer wished to undergo dialysis through her fistula. Her doctors thought that dialysis using any other technique would be too dangerous. Four experts in pediatric nephrology, bioethics, and palliative care discuss this decision and the different ways that the health care team might respond.

Research abstracts