There has been a significant rise in proportion of chronically ill children dying in intensive care, warn UK researchers.
They analysed records from Great Ormond Street Hospital in London from 1997 to 2004. During the seven years, 1,127 children died, over half of whom were younger than 12 months.
There were no major changes to overall admission rates to the hospital or to intensive care over the study period, nor did overall death rates vary. But the number of children dying in intensive care rose from around 80% in 1997 to almost 91% in 2004.
They suggested that terminally ill children were not being actively treated, contrary to national guidelines. They warned that death in intensive care was a highly distressing experience for both the child and parents.
Journal of Medical Ethics (2007) 33: 655-60