Coping with Poor Prognosis in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
When the pediatrician in a hospital intensive care unit (ICU) predicts to parents that a poor outcome is likely, he may sometimes encounter disbelief and even animosity. “We’ve told the parents their child’s chances for a healthy recovery are extremely poor, but they don’t appear to understand—they seem to be totally unrealistic” was a comment not infrequently made by pediatric medical staff and nursing staff in our pediatric intensive care unit. The physician may compare his plight to that of Cassandra—the mythical Greek prophetess of doom, who was cursed to see into the future and not be believed. The purpose of this report is to describe the Cassandra prophecy phenomenon and to present our hypotheses about its meaning and how it might be dealt with effectively.
KeywordsNursing Staff Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Biliary Atresia Hospital Environment Hospital Intensive Care Unit
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