Stories about: end of life

Parents consider hastening death for terminally ill children

Joanne Woolfe, MD, MPH
Joanne Wolfe, MD, MPH

For parents already dealing with the sadness, anger and guilt of having a child with a terminal illness, watching that child experience pain in her last days is excruciating.

In a study led by Children’s Hospital Boston and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Joanne Wolfe, MD, MPH, which was covered today in The Boston Globe and Time magazine, more than one out of eight parents who were surveyed considered hastening the death of a child with terminal cancer, with their child’s suffering increasing the likelihood of such thoughts. Five parents said they actually asked a caregiver to speed up their child’s death. “The fear of pain is the critical factor for parents with regard to hastening death,”said Wolfe in the Time article.

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