Can Parents Refuse a Potentially Lifesaving Transplant for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency?

Pediatrics. 2016 Jul;138(1):e20160892. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-0892. Epub 2016 Jun 15.


If untreated, most children with severe combined immunodeficiency disorder (SCID) will die of complications of infection within the first 2 years of life. Early hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) is the current standard of care for this disease. Although potentially lifesaving, prognosis of HSCT in SCID is variable depending on a number of host and donor factors. Of the survivors, many develop secondary problems such as chronic graft-versus-host disease or even second malignancies. Posttransplant care is complex and requires great effort from parents to adhere to difficult treatment regimens. In this article, we address the difficult ethical question of what to do if parents choose not to have their child with SCID undergo HSCT but prefer palliative care.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Severe Combined Immunodeficiency / surgery*
  • Treatment Refusal / ethics*