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Appropriately Navigating Through Treacherous Medicine : Health Care Decision-Making Panels for Vulnerable Minors

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A little girl, named Haleigh Poutre, was taken to the hospital in a comatose condition after her parents had severely beaten her. After a few weeks, doctors pronounced that Haleigh was in a persistent vegetative state, and her current legal guardian, the department of social services (DSS), requested that she be taken off life support. The decision by DSS to petition the court for the removal of life-sustaining treatment was made too quickly and without the appropriate safeguard. Regardless of the philosophical debate between a patient's autonomy and the quality of their life, there will continue to be extremely ill children who need an end-of-life decision to be made on their behalf, and there needs to be a procedural mechanism in place to ensure this decision is made carefully and thoroughly. For this reason, a multidisciplinary panel should be instituted to ensure that children do not fall through the cracks.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1891/107374707780851799

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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