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A doctor’s perspective on treating young patients like your own children

908311863_31d4202e05In a sweet and insightful blog post on KevinMD, ethicist and critical care physician Robert Truog, MD explores a common but loaded question from parents of his young patients: "Doctor, if this were your child, what would you do?"

Truog explains:

...when they ask me this question, it’s as if our relationship is transformed. They are telling me that they trust and value my opinion; they want my best judgment as a doctor and as a person.

But, like many medical procedures or treatment options, the answer is complex - and, as medical opinion differs among experts, so does parenting style.

As an instructor of young physicians at Boston Children's Hospital, Truog offers this advice:

Instead of answering it simply and literally, they should use the question as an invitation to explore the values and beliefs of the parents. Ask them about what matters most to them, what they most hope for, what they most fear, what potential outcomes would be intolerable for them, how their child copes with pain, adversity or disappointment.

The piece is worth a read.

Photo by Lars Plougmann

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