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Dignified and pain-free dying in children with malignant diseases

Journal title
Mon.schr. Kinderheilkd.
Publication year
2003
Author(s)
Niethammer, D.
Pages
1270-+
Volume
151
Number
12

The death of children is a well-known subject for a pediatric oncologist, which cannot be evaded. However, not only oncologists but every physician in a pediatric hospital has to think about that subject. Whether a child is allowed to die with dignity and free of pain depends to a large extent on the way the child is taken care of during the long course of illness. Thus, this paper deals mainly with care and accompaniment. The process of dying occurs during the last stage of life, and also in this phase the manner of care greatly determines if the child will die with human dignity. Honesty and care are the two pillars on which an adequate accompaniment is based. This is definitely a task for the physicians who have taken care of the child since the beginning of the treatment. Especially in the time of dying the patients must not be left alone and the consequences of a deficient accompaniment for the children and adolescents should become clear to the reader. This concept, of course, must also include the performance of adequate prevention and treatment of pain.

Research abstracts