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Ethical reflections about an encounter with a severe ill small child
Linköping University, Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, Nursing Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, Nursing Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1588-135X
2008 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This presentation is a self experienced encounter with a boy, Linuz, 18 months old, which is no longer with us. He was so young that his language was not fully developed, and he could not express himself totally verbally. These circumstances challenge the power and responsibility of health care professionals, to encounter a small person while respecting the integrity and developing autonomy.

The aim of the study is to make ethical refl ections, in a paediatric nursing care situation, with a severe ill small child.

Method used is a case study, an empirical investigation of an incident in real-life context, here a little boy being treated at a paediatric ward in a county hospital.

Linuz was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in his stomach. He was very upset of what the health care professionals had to do with him in nursing care and he protested loudly and clearly; he was not motivated at all to cooperate. In our fi rst meeting Linuz needed intravenous medication in his central venous catheter and I shared this information with him, while he was sitting in his parent’s knee. “Come here Linuz, and lay down on your bed and I will give you your medication in the catheter so you are going to be big, strong and healthy”. He looked at me for a moment and then he climbed up in the bed, looking me in the eyes all the time and lay down on the pillow very close to me. Then he put up his t-shirt, handed me the central venous catheter and received his medication without any complaints and in full cooperation. Afterwards he draws down his t-shirt and returned to his parents. The silence was total during this sequence. My fi rst refl ection was that; this little boy was listening to me, was thinking what to do, did make a competent decision and was acting according to that.

There is no age limit to have a standpoint of what is going to happen, even if it is not possible for the person to express it verbally. We can only imaging what Linuz was thinking, if he made a competent decision, or if he felt hope or trust or if it was all of this that he felt. But it was his human right to express his feelings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-52289OAI: diva2:281179
The 15th International Conference on Cancer Nursing, August 17-21,Singapore
Available from: 2009-12-14 Created: 2009-12-14 Last updated: 2013-09-12

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