With increasing focus in the last decade on post-cardiac arrest care in pediatrics, return of spontaneous circulation, survival rates, and neurologic outcome have improved. As part of this postarrest care, both the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Neurology state it is reasonable to consider targeted temperature management in pediatric comatose patients, although this care is challenging and time sensitive, with many gaps in knowledge remaining. Many pediatric patients will still not survive or will suffer severe neurocognitive impairment despite the therapeutic arsenal provided. Adult guidelines suggest providing postarrest supportive care and limiting prognosis discussions with families until after 72 hours of therapy, but pediatric clinicians are advised to consider a multitude of factors given the lack of data. What, then, should clinicians do if family members of a patient who has been resuscitated request the withdrawal of all life support in the 24 hours immediately postarrest? In this Ethics Rounds, we present such a case and the responses of different clinicians and bioethicists.
Copyright © 2020 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.