kids, don't know how long you have been a nurse, or what your spiritual beliefs are, but I struggled with this question about 10 years ago, when I lost a child very dear to my heart, a pt not my own, but she felt like part of my heart.
I went to my minister to talk about it. We prayed together, the night before she went back for the surgery I knew she would not live through. His words gave me enormous comfort, just by assuring me God does not want children to suffer. We prayed for the wisdom of all the nurses and cos caring for her to do the right thing. She did die about 2 hrs post-op, after along and horrendous code (no one wanted to give up.)
A few months later, he gave me a wonderful book to read,
(info taken from www.amazon.com
Window to Heaven, When Children See Life in Death
by Diane Komp
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This book was written by a pediatric oncologist, and she descibes fascinating stories of childrens pre-death visions. I highly recommend you read this, it gave me a sense of peace and great comfort to read it, and I hope it does for you too. I gave my copy away to another parent whose child was dying in our unit.
Also, interesting, and along the saem lines is Bette Eadie's book "Embraced by the Light" A most comprehensive near-death experience. The woman was criticized b/c no documentation existed of her clinical death, but the story she has to tell, even if it is a fantasy or a hallucination, is one I choose to indulge in.
These two books sparked my interest in near-death experiences, and I write a phenomenol paper on it, sadly in the days before I learned to back-up my work, and so I did a lot of research on the subject, and one thing I can say is, if she is hallucinating, an awful lot of people are having identical hallucinations. Anyway, one of the most fascinating things she had to say was, when she was in the presence of God, it was revealed to her that souls choose their path in life. They even choose if they will be an aborted fetus or a crippled child. It is because they wanted that experience. This totally blew me away. It is explained much deeper in the book, but I think you would enjoy reading it, and get some comfort from it if you are open-minded.
While I found these books a great comfort, I did find that I just couldn't do peds anymore.
Why? Because her mother loved her enough to bring her into this world, and take her home, and not abandon her in the hospital, like some moms do when they find out their child is not going to be "normal." This child must have some greater purpose than you and I can possible begin to know. I have to put my faith in God, that He knows what He's doing. How else can it be explained?
I feel for you, please order those books, esp A Window to Heaven. Let me know what you thought.