When a Child Dies

Most children with heart disease grow to be healthy adults. A few infants and children are so sick that they cannot be helped with current medical technology. These children die, and their families experience an indescribable sorrow.

The staff of Children’s Hospital is aware of the impact of this loss. A family memorial service is an ongoing program offered a few months after death to all bereaved families.

The Heart Institute gives special attention to families who have lost a child with heart disease. A memorial gift is sent and phone support and other materials are available. Social service staff also is available for individual counseling and referral to other supportive services.

Each bereaved family has a standing invitation to come back to the hospital several weeks or months after the child’s death. During this visit, families review the course of death with the cardiologist. Other families also talk with staff members who cared for their child and return to the places where he stayed during his illness. Such visits allow families to share concerns and feelings with people who became important to them while their child was ill. These discussions help the healing process as the family recovers from their child’s death.