End-of-life issues in paediatric intensive care

Ashok P. Sarnaik, Kathleen L. Meert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Paediatric intensivists routinely face life and death decisions. Increased ability to prolong life through technological advances has challenged the traditional ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice. The medical decision-making process is optimised by having a physician leader and incorporating family perspectives. Physicians must maintain their commitment to the patient even after the decision to forgo life-sustaining therapy is made. In such situations, a carefully constructed, individualised management plan is necessary for the palliative care of the child. This review discusses the general ethical framework used in formulating a philosophy of care in the paediatric ICU, the dynamics of the decision-making process, and management strategies to improve end-of-life care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-107
Number of pages4
JournalPaediatrics and Child Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • end-of-life care
  • ethics
  • medical decision making
  • paediatric intensive care
  • palliative care


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