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Pediatric palliative care centers growing in the United States
July 6th, 2012
07:30 AM ET

Pediatric palliative care centers growing in the United States

Editor's note: Dr. Barbara Beach is the co-founder and director of the George Mark Children’s House. Tune into Sanjay Gupta MD at 4:30 p.m. E.T. Saturday and 7:30 a.m. E.T. Sunday to learn more about pediatric palliative care in "The Gift of Charles."

It began with Jim. He was a big-hearted, courageous young man dying of cancer, and I was a young pediatric oncologist at the beginning of my career, not 10 years his senior. Jim simply wanted to die at home, in the company of his mother, away from the hospital where he had spent so many weeks and months battling his disease. Yet as hard as I tried, I wasn’t able to make his final wish possible.

I had pleaded with the insurance case manager to agree to provide one shift of home nursing per day so that his single mother could have the support she needed to care for him at home. I argued that providing limited home nursing would cost much less than 24 hour hospital care, but was told flatly that that was not how the system worked.

In my utter frustration, anger and tears, I determined that there had to be a better way to provide more compassionate end of life care.

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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