Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Distress of the NICU Parent - Each Person Only Knows His or Her Own Pain

There is an expression about not judging a person unless you have walked a mile in his or her shoes. I think this is much the same when trying to understand the grief and pain felt by a NICU parent when trying to make the best decisions for their NICU baby.

Anesthsioboist "T" shares her views on the Limits of Viability in her blog.
I wish people wouldn't pass judgment on parents who ask for everything possible to be done to save their children.

I wish people wouldn't pass judgment on parents who ask that their children be left in peace if resuscitation appears futile.
"T" reflects on a one of her very difficult experiences as a medical student and a more postive experience as an Intern and Mother with her own daughter. She cautions that the first story may elicit a strong reaction from some. (I would caution parents before reading the first part that "T's" reflections are more geared for professionals, who must deal daily with difficult life and death situations.)

NICU Parents experience a wide range of distresses. Many want absolutely everything done to save their child. Others are able to help their child let their child go if care appears to be futile. It may be difficult for people to understand either of these points of views.

After reading T's post, a quote from Paulo Coelho comes to mind:
We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation.

It's one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it's another to think that yours is the only path.
Paulo Coelho

Other Ethical Sources:
Carter BS. Ethical Issues in Neonatal Care. eMedicine. Available at: http://www.emedicine.com/PED/topic2767.htm
Dyer KA. NICU from the Nurse's Perspective.

T. The Limits of Viability. July 17, 2007.

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