Young, pregnant and dying — how can we provide the “right” care?

Faith D Cranfield and Carol M Douglas
Med J Aust 2009; 191 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2009.tb03352.x
Published online: 7 December 2009

In complex and challenging cases, care should be individualised to reflect a patient’s unique situation, values and goals

In all areas of medicine, we encounter complex and tragic cases that challenge our medical expertise, our emotional resources, our clinical judgement and our capacity to make ethical decisions. In challenging cases where there is a diagnosis of a progressive life-limiting illness, a palliative care team may have much to offer. The patient we describe here, a young pregnant woman diagnosed with incurable malignancy, represents one such case. Only by working with the patient at the centre, surrounded by collaborating specialist staff, can we negotiate the path to the “right” care.

  • Faith D Cranfield1
  • Carol M Douglas2

  • Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, QLD.


We would like to thank the patient’s husband for giving us permission to write her story. We would also like to acknowledge the importance of all the health care professionals who looked after this young patient. Her journey and uniqueness, including her approach to her uncertain and difficult future, clearly touched those who cared for her.

Competing interests:

None identified.


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