If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume you’re happy to receive all cookies from the BMA website. Find out more about cookies
When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalised web experience.
Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.
These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms.
You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.
These cookies are required
These cookies allow us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information we collect is anonymous unless you actively provide personal information to us.
If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.
These cookies allow a website to remember choices you make (such as your user name, language or the region you're in) and tailor the website to provide enhanced features and content for you.
For example, they can be used to remember certain log-in details, changes you've made to text size, font and other parts of pages that you can customise. They may also be used to provide services you've asked for such as watching a video or commenting on a blog. These cookies may be used to ensure that all our services and communications are relevant to you. The information these cookies collect cannot track your browsing activity on other websites.
Without these cookies, a website cannot remember choices you've previously made or personalise your browsing experience meaning you would have to reset these for every visit. In addition, some functionality may not be available if this category is switched off.
Our websites sometimes integrate with other companies’ sites. For example, we integrate with social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, to make it easier for you to share what you have read. These sites place their own cookies on your browser as a result of us including their icons and ‘like’ or ‘share’ buttons on our sites.
It feels as though every few months there’s another harrowing court case involving cessation of life-prolonging care in a young child.
Reporting of these tragic episodes has settled into a predictable format: the photos of the baby, seemingly perfect but for the endotracheal tube protruding from one nostril; the interviews with the grief-stricken parents; the campaigners with placards, teddy-bears and – sometimes – creepy social media threats for the intensive care staff.
There’s another common theme, as well. In the news bulletins, in the carefully-crafted newspaper think pieces, even in the judge’s summing up, a certain phrase appears again and again: ‘Any parent would…’
It’s a kind phrase, meant to express empathy as well as sympathy. It says: we understand these people’s desperation. We have tried to stand in their shoes. We see how wrenchingly painful any decision in these hideous circumstances must be.
It’s a kind phrase, and kindness, in these acrimonious disputes, is valuable. But truth is valuable too, and this well-meant cliché is not true.
Not ‘any’ parent would fight tooth and nail to prolong the life of their dying child. Not ‘any’ parent would reject medical advice in a desperate search for a miracle. Not ‘any’ parent would strive to keep their baby breathing at all costs, even through intensive and painful medical intervention.
I can state this as a fact, because I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of the other parents. I once sat in clinic with a mother who, after bitter indecision, turned down a life-prolonging but non-curative treatment for her baby’s degenerative disorder.
She could not face, either for the baby or herself, the vista of progressive symptoms, increasingly frequent hospital admissions, and ever more invasive treatments that the child’s life would be.
The rest of the consultation was spent in discussing measures for the baby’s care and comfort. But there was one other piece of advice I had to give that mother before she left.
I told her to get off Facebook. To leave social media, to turn her back on the previously supportive parents’ forums, and to tell no-one except trusted friends and family about her decision.
Otherwise, she risked facing real hostility from people who disagreed with her, at a time when she would be least equipped to deal with conflict.
After all, if the media repeatedly tells us that ‘any’ parent will fight to the bitter end, what kind of unnatural, inadequate parent is it who accepts palliation?
Some parents are indeed unable to accept the inevitable, and they deserve our pity, understanding and support. But many, many others look death in the face and approach it with acceptance as well as grief, and they deserve our admiration.
By the Secret Doctor
Read the blog and follow @TheSecretDr on Twitter and on Facebook
Very well written; these parents care more than anything about the quality of life for their child. I have the deepest respect for them, and support this decision. We need to allow also ourselves to let go sometimes, always in the interest of the child
Completely agree with you. Such a well written piece, in contrast to so much that gets published in our news media and stokes the fire of these ill-informed campaigns.
Very well written. This extends to parents making choices on an unborn child. Society, through social media, has too much of an opinion when these parents need as much support as possible in making the hardest decisions of their lives.
Such a shame this is only going to be read by doctors, not the people who most need to hear it
One of my patients had to watch her ten year old son fit for three days before he died of a brain tumour. She couldn't get it out of her head. Euthanasia should be available. If you wouldn't let your dog, cat or horse die a miserable death then why should we forced to have our children and other loved ones, as well as our selves suffer to the bitter end. Just to appease the God Squad?
I agree with the last poster - a shame this well written point of view is only going to be preaching to the converted (doctors) and wont be shared with the general public. Could you consider passing it on to the press? (I suggest not the Daily Mail or Telegraph!)
I needed to thank you for this good read!! I certainly enjoyed every bit of it. I've got you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post…
<a href="www.writingpearl.co.uk/.../">assignment writing services UK</a>
<a href="www.writingpearl.co.uk/.../"> assignment writing services UK</a>
I used to be able to find good information from your blog posts.
Actually people need to stay aware regarding it..Unfortunately no one would read it and the one who would will just read...They will forget it the very next hour https://www.dqfansurvey.us/
You are try the new offer of the if you are like the new games https://setclockwindows.com/ then you are play the nay time and any where this is the perfect solution of the more guys.
This blog is read by non medics too!
great post. keep it up