Parents of seriously ill children are often faced with agonizing decisions about clinical treatment. These decisions concern not only whether to continue treatment or to allow their child to die, but also how much pain and suffering their child should experience in the hope that there will be survival and a good outcome. The enormous stress inherent in this type of situation is further compounded by the complexity and uncertainty that almost always accompanies the medical treatment of these children. In addition to trying to sort out their own views about the value of life and the meaning of suffering, parents must cope with medical data that are often confusing and conflicting, even to the clinicians themselves. It is quite natural, therefore, that difficult discussions between physicians and parents about these issues often culminate in the question, “Doctor, if this were your child, what would you do?”

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