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Pediatrics. 2017 Nov;140(5). pii: e20170690. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-0690.

Cross-Cultural Differences in Communication About a Dying Child.

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Children's Medical Center, Dallas, Texas.
Children's Mercy Bioethics Center, Kansas City, Missouri; and.
Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.
Children's Mercy Bioethics Center, Kansas City, Missouri; and


There are more migrants, refugees, and immigrants adrift in the world today than at any time in the recent past. Doctors and hospitals must care for people from many different cultures, countries, and religious backgrounds. We sometimes find our own deeply held beliefs and values challenged. In this "Ethics Rounds," we present a case in which a Pakistani immigrant family faces a tragic medical situation and wants to deal with it in ways that might be normative in their own culture but are aberrant in ours. We asked the American doctors and 2 Pakistani health professionals to think through the issues. We also invited the father to talk about his own experience and preferences. We conclude that strict adherence to Western ethical norms may not always be the best choice. Instead, an approach based on cultural humility may often allow people on both sides of a cultural divide to learn from one another.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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