Do You Have Any Other Children?
I don't want to belabor the point, but we don't really like this question. Shortly after Faith was diagnosed, we were asked, "Do you have any other children?" At the time, it seemed to us that we were being told, "Well, you're going to lose this one — do you have any others? That will soften the blow…" Perhaps that's not what the doctor meant and we're being overly sensitive. But ever since, this question has always reminded us of that awful first time. Let me assure you, each child is wonderful and beloved. The love of each child is uniquely precious. Every child stands alone and can never be replaced by a sibling.
Having said this, we do encourage you to ask about your patient's life at home.
Parents will probably appreciate your interest and welcome the opportunity to share this information with you.
Just remember that the parents of a terminally ill child are in a fragile emotional state. An innocent question, asked in an insensitive way, could be misinterpreted.