Doctors' Guidance on How to Talk to Terminally Ill Teens

Doctors' Guidance on How to Talk to Terminally Ill Teens

Speaking to terminally ill patients about their disease is always difficult especially when a child or teen is involved. To shield children from a devastating diagnosis, some parents may even go so far as to keep their child in the dark about the severity of their illness. A paper published in JAMA Pediatrics argues that while that strategy may be less painful initially, when it comes to adolescents or teens with a life-threatening illness, telling the truth is the best option. In the JAMA paper, Dr. Abby Rosenberg, medical director of Seattle Children’s Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program, and her colleagues reviewed ethical justifications for and against having direct truth-telling conversations with adolescents.

About Seattle Children’s

Seattle Children’s Hospital, Foundation and Research Institute together deliver superior patient care, advance new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s Hospital specializes in meeting the unique physical, emotional and developmental needs of children from infancy through young adulthood. Through the collaboration of physicians in nearly 60 pediatric subspecialties, Seattle Children’s Hospital provides inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic, surgical, rehabilitative, behavioral, and emergency and outreach services to families from around the world.

Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention, bioethics and much more.

Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation and Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association work together to gather community support and raise funds for uncompensated care, clinical care and research. The foundation receives nearly 80,000 gifts each year, from lemonade stand proceeds to corporate sponsorships. Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association is the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country, serving as the umbrella organization for 450 groups of people who turn an activity they love into a fundraiser. Support from the foundation and guild association makes it possible for Seattle Children’s care and research teams to improve the health and well-being of all kids.

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