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Making the Tough Health Care Decisions

March 15, 2018

As a parent or guardian, you make choices about health care for your child every day. This physician or that one? Which over-the-counter medicine is most effective? Which has fewer side effects?

When your child has a serious injury or illness, however, such choices can be very difficult. The stakes are high. Options can be complicated.

“An important message that we share is that we know that everyone wants the best for the child,” says Erin Johnson, MD, who is a pediatric critical care physician for Goryeb Children’s Hospital. “That includes the parents, guardians and other loved ones, as well as every medical provider. When there is a difficult decision to make or a difference of opinion, Goryeb Children’s Hospital has a group of people to be your resource.”

Dr. Johnson is the lead physician at Goryeb for a program called the Bioethics Consultation Service. She is a specialist in the field called “pediatric bioethics,” which offers many services that include helping families and care providers with difficult health care decisions for children.

“We meet with people as a group or one-on-one, to help them weigh the benefits and burdens of different options for care,” she says. “The decisions are made by the patient, when possible, the family and their physicians.”