When Treatment Fails: How Medicine Cares for Dying Children

Hardcover | January 31, 2006

byDavid J. Bearison

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Medical care of the terminally ill is one of the most emotionally fraught and controversial issues before the public today. As medicine advances and technologies develop, end-of-life care becomes more individualized and uncertain, guided less by science and more by values and beliefs. Thecrux of the controversy is when to withhold or withdraw curative treatments--when is enough, enough?Political debates rage about when treatment is no longer effective; difficult cases are contested in courts; and the media devour the most sensational aspects of end-of-life care. In all this excitement and controversy, what is sadly overlooked is the extreme pressure that care of the terminallyill puts on medical staff as they deal with patients and their families and make life-or-death decisions. That pressure--the psychological strain and continuing uncertainties--is magnified when the patients are children.David Bearison looks at this controversial issue from the perspective of the medical staff caring for dying children. Not just doctors, but nurses and counselors as well. By capturing their stories--as no other book has, Bearison is able to move beyond broad, abstract ideas about end-of-life careto convey the situated contexts of such care, including the complications, disagreements, frustrations, confusions, and unexpected setbacks.In addition to a discussion of questions surrounding whether to withhold or withdraw curative treatments, When Treatment Fails explores the crucial concerns of those medical practitioners who care for dying children: education and training, relation with one another, communicating with patients andfamilies, and finally, coping and moving on. Ultimately, the threads connecting these themes are the great costs and rewards of this difficult work, and the lessons that can be drawn from the nitty-gritty experiences of medical practitioners who struggle to find the balance between trying to defeatdeath and trying to provide comfort.

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From the Publisher

Medical care of the terminally ill is one of the most emotionally fraught and controversial issues before the public today. As medicine advances and technologies develop, end-of-life care becomes more individualized and uncertain, guided less by science and more by values and beliefs. Thecrux of the controversy is when to withhold or...

David J. Bearison's many positions include Professor of Developmental Psychology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Adjunct Professor of Medical Psychology in Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the College of Physician and Surgeons of Columbia University, and Attending at the Children's Hospital of New York (CHONY), ...

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$186.48 online$211.50list price(save 11%)
Format:HardcoverDimensions:312 pages, 6.3 × 9.29 × 1.1 inPublished:January 31, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195156129

ISBN - 13:9780195156126

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Table of Contents

1. Pediatric End-of-Life Care2. Narrative Theory, Medicine, and Methods3. Twenty Stories About How Children Die4. Withholding or Withdrawing Curative Treatments5. Pain and Suffering6. Staff Reacting7. Patients and Families Reacting8. Conclusions

Editorial Reviews

"The book offers a remarkable treasure trove of lived experiences of clinicians from which novice and seasoned clinicians may learn and deepen their insight about end-of-life care of children."--JAMA