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6 - Dying Young

What Interests Do Children Have?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

D. Micah Hester
Affiliation:
University of Arkansas
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Summary

Why isn't it easier when a child dies?

Their lives so short, unencumbered and free.

But then again, we all may indeed suffer so.

The uncertainty of every child's fate lies

With people who may love and care but cannot see

How little – and how much – they actually know.

(for Caroline) D.M. Hester

Our radically empirical attitude toward dying has led us through a survey of issues raised by different groups of adult patients. Since we are to take all and only experience, as a practical matter this means approaching patients as robust narratives, engaging their life stories and the complex interrelations to others and environment that those stories express and entail. For the most part, I have argued that this approach, while remaining contextual and social in scope and interpretation, still must promote the participation of individual patients, and attempt to champion the stories they wish to tell. While patients' stories, as expressed by them through their own voices or written directives, should not be taken as necessarily determinative, they have authorial force.

I will now turn to pediatric patients prematurely facing death – specifically to issues concerning neonatal end-of-life care. Here the presumption of patients' “authority” in their own narratives gives way to others, as these patients are still greatly underdeveloped. But then what would it mean to implement the radically empirical insights so far discussed?

Type
Chapter
Information
End-of-Life Care and Pragmatic Decision Making
A Bioethical Perspective
, pp. 126 - 155
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

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  • Dying Young
  • D. Micah Hester, University of Arkansas
  • Book: End-of-Life Care and Pragmatic Decision Making
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511805882.007
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  • Dying Young
  • D. Micah Hester, University of Arkansas
  • Book: End-of-Life Care and Pragmatic Decision Making
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511805882.007
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Dying Young
  • D. Micah Hester, University of Arkansas
  • Book: End-of-Life Care and Pragmatic Decision Making
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511805882.007
Available formats
×