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J Paediatr Child Health. 2011 Sep;47(9):614-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2011.02165.x.

Ethical issues in bone marrow transplantation in children.

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1
The Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. aric.bendorf@sydney.edu.au

Abstract

In the 50 years since the first successful human bone marrow transplant (BMT) was performed in 1959, BMT has become the optimal therapy for a wide variety of life-threatening paediatric haematological, immunological and genetic disorders. Unfortunately, while BMT generally provides the only possibility of cure for such afflicted children, few (25%) have a matched sibling available, and suitably matched unrelated donors are often not identified for many children in need of BMT. And even where BMT is possible, treatment is complex and arduous and associated with significant mortality and morbidity. The issues raised when either or both the donor and recipient are children and lack the capacity to make informed and rational decisions relating to BMT pose great challenges for all involved. This paper examines some of the ethical dilemmas that confront patients, families and medical practitioners when considering bone marrow transplantation in a child.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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