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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2019 Mar 28. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000001828. [Epub ahead of print]

Ethics in the PED: An Untimely Death.

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From the Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai Beth Israel, and.
Department of Emergency Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY.


Death is an uncommon event in the pediatric emergency department. The sudden end of a young life is always an undesirable event. Staff and family members are never prepared. Although staff in the emergency department can become routinized to caring for acutely ill and dying patients, family members may become shocked by this novel and terrible experience. Whether the patient is old or young, previously sick or healthy, it is important to stop and consider how hard it must be for the assembled family. As frontline clinicians, we all deeply care about the outcome of our patients and their families, yet for them to feel they have been understood and well cared for, it is recognized that clinicians must attend to health care conversations on a deeper and more relational level. Consideration that these events happen and reinforcing that it is difficult for all involved ensure staff that their challenges are recognized.

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